Yes, Mr. Zuckerberg, we do care about privacy

Four out of five Americans have information on their PCs they want to keep private, says Harris Interactive. Time to start listening to them.

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Privacy is dead, get over it. Sharing is the new social norm. If you're doing something you don't want others to know about, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

We hear these things a lot from what social media researcher Danah Boyd calls Privileged Straight White Male Technology Executives (PSWMTE).  It's their justification for taking your data and having their way with it. Now that you no longer care about protecting your personal information, it's OK if we butter it all over the InterWebs for a profit, right?

Dear Messrs Scott McNealy, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, and all the other PSWMTEs: Americans do care about their personal privacy, online and off. And you'd know this, if you just asked them the right questions.

[ See also: Have we entered a computer police state yet? ]

Today, security software vendor PC Tools and Harris Interactive released the results of their Keep Internet Security Simple survey. The highlights:

  • Four out of five Americans want to keep files on their computers private from others -- whether it's their coworkers (48 percent), boss (42 percent), friends (40 percent), children (29 percent), parents (26 percent), or spouse (17 percent).
  • Nearly half (45 percent) say they'd be embarrassed if those other folks saw some of the stuff they have on their PC, smartphone, wonder tablet, etc.

In other words, a whole mess of people are doing what Eric Schmidt says they probably shouldn't -- as is their right. (Still, it may be time to wipe those naughty Popeye and Olive Oyl pix from your iPhone, dude.)

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