Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: (Kevin A. Burton)
Date: 02 Jan 2002 19:01:46 -0800

Hash: SHA1

Brian Behlendorf <> writes:

> On 2 Jan 2002, Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> > Privacy enabled systems.  Unless you can really sell it there is no money to be
> > made here.
> Earthlink has this great commercial running now.  A guy and a girl are at a
> bar.  The girl hands the guy her phone number.  The bartender notices this,
> and says to the guy, "hey, can I get a copy of that?"  Cut to a shot of the
> woman looking worried at the guy.  Guy says "Sure.  $5?"  Bartender and guy
> exchange money and number.  Cut to woman astonished.  Voiceover says,
> paraphrased, "Join Earthlink.  We won't share your data."

Until you get sued for false advertisement!

This commercial really bothers me because they can't back it up.

They might as well say: "Join earthlink, we can make gold from lead!"

They have no system to magically prevent someone from snarfing your Earthlink
email or from keeping from selling all your info to the highest

The only cool thing about this commercial was its brillance.  Earthlink doesn't
deserve kudos, their advertising agency does :)

> I thought it was a *brilliant* way to take a concept, specifically profile
> confidentiality, which normally has no or an obscure value to non-technical
> users, and casting it into a situation that is obvious to everyone.  I mean,
> how many people do you think actually read the privacy policy that sites post?

The same amount of people that read Microsoft EULAs!   :)

> How many of those who do read it understand even the important parts?
> Probably <1% in each of those cases.  But Earthlink made it now an
> understandable topic, in a very heavily price-driven commoditized market
> (internet access).

There are so many problems with Privacy policies.  Specifically that these are
not legal agreements.  Amazon change their policy a year ago from:

"We won't sell your user info ever"


"Forget what we just said, we are going to sell it"

This stuff is just futile!  

> > > The paradox of capitalism, IMHO, is that the needs of society as a whole
> > > are best met when businesses and individuals act in their own best
> > > self-interest. Others have explained why better than I ever could.
> >
> > This is one scenario.  It is far from 100% though. Companies screw over
> > society all the time though.  We need a balanced system...
> Capitalism still works here if consumers can place a hard value on these kind
> of ephemeral things, either because they become educated that it's the "right
> thing to do", or more reliably, because their insurance rates go down if they
> buy cars with passenger-side seat belts or airbags or anti-lock brakes.

I was specifically talking about the way companies push through laws like the
DMCA or the way Microsoft continually pushes the envelope with their monopoly.


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