Mark Zuckerberg just dropped another $100M to protect his privacy

Remember when Mark Zuckerberg declared that the age of privacy was over?

Well, that was before he spent $100 million on 750 acres of Kauai North Shore plantation and beachfront, the majority of which will sit undeveloped in order to provide a buffer between his private retreat and the public who might want to pry into his life.

That's in addition to the four houses he bought around his home in Silicon Valley, which sit empty, providing an exclusion zone that protects him against prying eyes.

Then there was the time he flipped out because his sister screwed up her (deliberately over-complicated and difficult-to-understand) Facebook privacy settings and shared a photo of a private family moment.

When Mark Zuckerberg (or Eric Schmidt) declares privacy to be dead, they're not making an observation, they're making a wish. What they mean is, "If your privacy was dead, I would be richer."

The best use for Facebook is to teach people why they should leave Facebook.

In addition to his homes in Palo Alto and Kauai, Zuckerberg also has a house in San Francisco.

It's currently undergoing an extensive renovation, including $65,000 worth of renovation work on the kitchen and bathrooms, $750,000 for an addition to the rear and side of the house, and $25,000 to make the fourth floor "habitable." There's an additional $720,000 for an office, media room, half bathroom, mudroom, laundry room, wine room, and wet bar, in addition to a new second-floor half bathroom and remodel of the second, third, and fourth floors.

Each of the construction workers has signed an NDA, according to The New York Times.

Parking in Zuckerberg's San Francisco neighborhood is notoriously difficult. To make sure construction workers would have somewhere to park in the morning—and, presumably, to prevent people from snooping around—the Facebook billionaire allegedly hired pairs of people to sit in cars parked near the house at night.

Silicon Valley CEOs Just Want a Little Privacy. $100 million and 750 Acres of It. [Madeline Stone/Slate]

Notable Replies

  1. What's cool is that he just gained $1B diminishing our privacy. Win win!

  2. Well, to balance things out, austerity has also become all too common everywhere. No matter how much hate is directed toward the rich they are in no danger of actually starving. The powerful have always been targets for criticism, as they should be. Mark Zuckerberg has made enormous sums by taxing people's social interactions, stifling free-discussion and enforcing double standards on nudity.

    This is the guy who told me that all my friends gave him their email and password, and I should too if I want to keep in touch with my friends! I really can't feel sorry for him at all, especially because his goals are mostly aligned with the tory / ukip types. If he wanted to improve the world he could campaign to raise the minimum wage instead of offering less-capable internet to the developing world.

  3. Unthinking adoration towards and kneejerk protection of Masters of Capital from these not-even-cruel words (that theyll never read) is far more tiring to read.

    "'nuff said".

  4. Sweet doublethink, bro

  5. To me, this article is not about envy or resentment of the rich... it's about the type of world we want. It's making the case that the right to privacy is something that most humans (even Mark Zuckerberg) want - at least to one degree or another...

    I don't equate privacy with secrecy... I equate privacy with respect for the right to decide who I wish to know information about me, and who I don't. Full stop.

    I make that decision every day... lots of times a day, in fact. Typically by weighing the benefit of disclosure against the risks. Where I assess the benefits outweigh the risks... that's data about me that I'm happy to share. When I assess the opposite... that the person asking for my social security number, home phone, date of birth and passwords to my user accounts is more likely to use that data to hurt me than use it for good, I'm inclined to say "none of your business."

    I think that having that right is foundational to being human, to living in a free society, to being spontaneous, and yes... even to being transparent. So when I interact with a system that is expressly designed to deprive me of that fundamental right... that purposely tricks me into thinking I'm safe when the truth is I'm not, that lulls me into ceding to someone else the right to decide who receives my data so that they can make more money based on granting that access... that's when I think we've let "them" get away with too much of our personal freedoms.

    Facebook, Google, Twitter... apps that sit on my phone and report where I am at all times (even when they're turned off!) so that someone I never even imagined had any ability to know where I go or who I'm with can build massive databases about me... those bother me. The thought that the government is spending billions to encourage us to add our genetic information to the data that's in those databases without letting me have a say in how my data is used.... that bothers me even more.

    And if people really knew what's going on there, I think they'd be bothered a lot too....

    The irony is... that if these folks cared about people enough to give others the respect that they themselves demand to decide who sees their information and for what purposes, then they could probably make more money than what they can today AND relieve the concerns being expressed about privacy AND be enabling the value of the information to be way more useful.. The reason they don't is not a lack of technology - I know that first hand. Rather it is because the people holding the data think they're likely to make more money by depriving all but a very few billionaires and political leaders of this right.

    In the wake of that, I believe the world suffers -- particularly in healthcare and advancing medical research -- because the whole system gets totally screwed up with data silos and carving off important pieces of data "to protect its secrecy" when as the subject of that data, we're a whole lot more interested in being sure that the people who will use it for things we care about have it faster, and the people who can only hurt us with it, will have a whole lot harder time getting hold of it.

    Sorry for the long ramble... this just struck home, and I think is really important to the way our society functions 10 years from now...!

Continue the discussion

21 more replies