Facebook hosted its first-ever privacy summit last Wednesday in an effort to improve its privacy credentials. The summit, called Privacy@Scale, brought together experts from industry, law and academics to discuss and debate the very concept of user privacy.
The group gathered in the company’s Menlo Park headquarters the day before an even bigger privacy conference at the University of California, Berkley. Facebook mostly served as the host for the event as panelists grappled with important topics like how companies can define user privacy itself.
“It means a million different things to a million different people,” said a privacy and product lawyer for Hulu. “People talk about it as though they know what they’re talking about. But nobody knows what anybody is talking about.”
Facebook even came in for some criticism at its own event, with one attendee questioning why Facebook users are not able to turn off advertising, and why it isn’t easier for users to choose not to be tracked by the site.
However, despite the push and pull about the finer points of privacy, all parties in attendance agreed that this kind of data collection isn’t going anywhere. As advertising becomes more targeted to specific individuals and mobile technology like smart phones become more prevalent, it’s only going to become easier for companies to learn just about everything they want to know about you.