Maintaining Privacy on Facebook

Esther Dyson does business as EDventure Holdings, the reclaimed name of the company she owned for 20-odd years before selling it to CNET Networks in 2004. In the last few years, she has turned her sights towards IT and health care. She dedicated two issues of her newsletter, Release 1.0, to the topic (Health and Identity: No Patient Left Behind? in January 2005 and Personal Health Information: Data Comes Alive! in September 2005).  Also in September 2005, she ran the Personal Health Information workshop that laid out many of the challenges still perplexing the health-care community.

Currently, she is on the board of directors of 23andMe and is one of the initial ten subjects of George Church's Personal Genome Project. Her primary activity is investing in start-ups and guiding many of them as a board member. Her board seats include Boxbe, CVO Group (Hungary),, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, and WPP Group and Yandex (Russia).

Some of her past direct IT investments include Flickr,, BrightMail, Medstory and Orbitz. Dyson was the founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000, and was also chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the 90's. In 1997, she wrote Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, which appeared in paperback a year later as Release 2.1. In 1994, she wrote a seminal essay on intellectual property for Wired magazine.

  • Transcript


Question: How can one maintain privacy on facebook?

Esther Dyson: Well it is sort of like when we talk about the internet I keep trying to tell people to problems isn’t the internet, it is the people on the internet. In the same way Facebooks problems is going to be its uses, suppose I am going to wedding and I decide to invite this friend of mine with me, and this friend in mine comes in DH really badly it gets drunk insults the bride whatever they are going to blame me, they are not going to blame weddings now.

I am on facebook, and I have this friend who starts spanning all my friends, makes in idiot of himself in through such a guy through ways where and that’s facebooks problem, even though its really my fault, where if that actually if the friends fault and for being the jerk that where having this people turned to blame the platform for the problems when it is a new platform, overtime, they realize its not the platform its idiots on the platform, just like there are two process air travel that they one is a TSA and the other passengers its really not the airline’s fault, but they get blamed for it.

They can try and set examples for good behavior they can put in things like that facebook has some of you can actually send it e-mails to 100s of people you have to send them I think 15 or 20 at a time and you can link and it is done a lot of social engineering round this is well, you can move those numbers up or down you can notice that somebody sends out lots of mail and ever gets a response I am not inside facebook, but I know that they tweak their algorithms and so do the other sites but you can turn the temperature up and down, which just like when you are in the party turn the music up or down and in turn the temperature up or down in it.

It suddenly changes how people behave and you can also online is much harder of the party you can throttle or loosen up, individual’s capabilities and of course I am sure this going to some scandal someday of they like connect neutrality will there be social neutrality where you can shut up the jerk who talks to love personal have like just shut up the jerk you talks to love and part that way you want to do is give individual’s the ability the shut people off which you can also do so its putting in tools like that without making in two claims without making them to over but at the same time with that making them too sneaky that what they are going have to be doing over next three year, and if they do it well, people like Facebook without really knowing quite mistake do it poorly they will.