Heard Around the Web, February 5th Edition

This week is focused more on storing and viewing content on the web:

Ars Technica’s Matthew Francis following up on Facebook’s ‘accidental’ data retention:

…photos that users thought they “deleted” from the social network months or even years ago remain accessible via direct link.

This is a great read for anyone who relies on the cloud for their information storage, whether it is Facebook, Google or any other service. One of the reasons I’m not comfortable using Facebook is because they never explicitly state that they actually delete the content from their servers when a user chooses to remove it from Facebook. Things that go to the cloud stay in the cloud. It’s as simple as that.

A New York Times opinion piece by Lori Andrews on the dangers of the data on the web:

Ads that pop up on your screen might seem useful, or at worst, a nuisance. But they are much more than that. The bits and bytes about your life can easily be used against you. Whether you can obtain a job, credit or insurance can be based on your digital doppelgänger — and you may never know why you’ve been turned down.

This is a rather frightening piece on how the information we upload to these web giants (Facebook, Google, etc) is currently being used against us*. *Whenever I talk about privacy (the lack thereof) on the web, people assume I’m talking about things that might happen in some Orwellian future. This information is being collected now, with no transparency, and little awareness about how it effects us (at least in the US). As users, we should try not to be too dependent on these closed services. The open web is great for sharing, social interaction, and everything else while allowing us to be in complete control of our data.

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar on requiring subscription to view Hulu content on smartphones and tablets:

I wouldn’t be surprised if our grandkids chuckle at this.

The post from the Verge itself is a summary of Jason Kilar’s interview. It’s a quick but good read that tells us  a lot about the traditional media industry’s mindset when it comes to the internet. They are stuck in a pre-internet mentality where only they had the say. They controlled the delivery mechanism so they decided what content to deliver, how to deliver, and how much to charge for it. But the internet has made the old system obsolete. That’s why artificial restrictions like DRM, streaming only to a computer, allowing web content after 8 (or 56 days) are just ways to drive the consumer away to easier, less hostile options.