At the D8 conference this evening, Steve Jobs told Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg his view on privacy, as Facebook has come under intense scrutiny over the past month. Steve Jobs offered his opinion on how to approach privacy which was refreshingly clear, something the audience agreed as they applauded his comments.
Jobs stated, “Privacy means people know what they are signing up for in plain English. Some people want to share more data. Ask them. Ask them every time. Let them know precisely what you are going to do with their data.” While it wasn’t directed at Facebook specifically, the comment contrasts Facebook’s position with their “Instant Personalization” which doesn’t alert users ahead of time what’s taking place with their data.
As we’ve reiterated over the past month, most users may not care about what information is being shared but that doesn’t mean it’s justified and it’s setting a precedent which could impact other decisions made within and outside Facebook in the future. In other words, Facebook needs to fix their instant personalization program to be opt-in. As Steve Jobs acknowledges, it’s not the job of technology companies to force users to be more open, instead you can ask them. It’s as simple as that.