Q: You say the design choices of websites and their default settings have an enormous impact on privacy. Can you suggest a way a current website might be changed to improve privacy along these lines?
A: Many social network websites are set up with a default setting that makes information fully available to the public. This is the easiest setting, and many people just go with the default.
Social network websites are also not very nuanced about how they categorize relationships — the world can’t easily be divided into friends and not-friends.
Off-line, we have a myriad of different types of relationships — each with very different norms of information sharing. But social network websites have a simpler, more reductive typology of relationships, and as a result, people wind up sharing information with others that they might normally not share information with.
If sites were structured to set the defaults toward making disclosure more restricted, it would help matters quite a bit — and make people think before exposing information to the entire world.
Default rules for social networking sites