Facebook, LinkedIn and Privacy

David Pogue: Ego control.

I’m the wrong person to ask about LinkedIn and FaceBook because I don’t get it. I get 10 of these things a day. Bob Smith would like to be your friend. Who the hell are you? Why do you want to be my friend? I don’t know you. I don’t get it.

I can see for a college kid wanting to show how many friends he has. There are great features. You announce that you’re getting married, you invite people to a party, you look for someone with expertise to help you with a project. There are genuine uses. But I’ve heard the cynics say it’s just all about ego massaging.

Question: How do these platforms affect privacy?

David Pogue: There is no privacy now.

One time I reviewed a product called Future Phone. It was a service that let you make free international calls. You would pick up your phone, you’d dial an access number in Iowa, and it would say put in the country code and phone number and presto, you could talk as long as you want overseas for free.

And I loved it, it was great, but my readers went crazy. They could not figure out how are they making money? And finally on the response area of the website, one reader said, “I know. It’s a privacy scam. They’re listening in to our phone calls.”

And I’m like, “And what?”

And he’s like, “Well, like if we’re going to buy a stock, they would know in advance and they could buy it up.”

And I’m like, “Dude, if you’re going to be paranoid, at least be sensible about your paranoia."

Look, if you were worried about privacy, then how do you know Visa is not at this moment looking through your statements going, "Oh, my god, another renewal of the Playboy." Oh, geez.

How do you know Verizon is not right now looking through your statements going, “Can you believe this guy? He’s got three girlfriends.”

I mean you don’t know. You have no privacy. But that what you buy at the grocery store on your loyalty card, they know everything about you. And frankly, if you think that anyone is that interested in the mundane details of your life, you’re self aggrandizing.

So A, you have no privacy now, B, it’s only going to get worse, and C, you’re really not that interesting.

Recorded on: May 15, 2008.

We have no privacy, and you are not that interesting.

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Keep reading Show less