Schneier on Privacy and Control

You ever hear that Fantastic Four skit Norm MacDonald did about Mr. Fantastic explaining why he’s named Mr. Fantastic in a group called The Fantastic Four?

Mr. Fantastic: It’s a coincidence!
The Human Torch: …a coincidence you created.
Mr. Fantastic: There’s only so many – look…the group’s been named!

Here’s the problem: the very companies whose CEOs eulogize privacy make their money by controlling vast amounts of their users’ information. Whether through targeted advertising, cross-selling or simply convincing their users to spend more time on their site and sign up their friends, more information shared in more ways, more publicly means more profits. This means these companies are motivated to continually ratchet down the privacy of their services, while at the same time pronouncing privacy erosions as inevitable and giving users the illusion of control.

…With all this privacy erosion, those CEOs may actually be right–but only because they’re working to kill privacy.