Twitter Protecting User Privacy Essay
An important dynamic to this issue is that while the government has had freedom to address their citizen’s concerns in length they have limited the companies from addressing the concerns of their customers. If Twitter’s lawsuit goes through it will be a step in the direction of information transparency allowing the company to report more specific information than they have before. Taking a stand for Internet surveillance transparency is a success is an environment where that type information is so rare.
Besides their struggle with the federal government, Twitter has also made efforts on their users’ behalf to provide protection from surveillance. Twitter recently joined the Do Not Track program, which has been pioneered by the Federal Trade Commission. The Do Not Track program allows users to opt out of third party tracking completely. Mozilla, the company that produces the popular web browser Firefox recently reported that their involvement with the Do Not Track program has been attracting new customers since the company adopted the policy. According to research conducted by Mozilla, forty-nine percent of their users feel their privacy is protected with the tracking protection, compared to the twelve percent who feel that way when the setting is disabled.
Mozilla’s report that the Do Not Track program is attracting more customers is evidence in support of the argument in Cassidy’s article we read for class, that efforts to protect the public from surveillance should be well received. If Mozilla’s findings hold true for Twitter it is evidence that these transparent practices are an effective business strategy for improving customer moral and attracting brand new customers.
Microsoft’s vice president John Frank expressed his concerns that the disclosure deal they made with the government “may not be enough to assuage its customers’ privacy concerns, but Microsoft hopes it can take further steps in the future.” With present evidence it seems that providing transparency about and protection from surveillance is becoming a successful business strategy. Openness with users about how their information is being used is becoming more and more valuable as the number of stories of surveillance scandals and infringements on people’s rights builds. Providing protection from third party surveillance has also proven to be an attractive feature for providers of online services to have.