A privacy newsgroup recently had a discussion about Iran's summons for Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook privacy violations. There was the usual discussion about politics, followed by people claiming you just shouldn’t use Facebook if you don't like their creepyness.

This line of reasoning troubles me every time I read it now, partly because I used to think the same way.

For a lot of jobs now, a Facebook account is all but mandatory, especially if you're under thirty. Universities/companies increasingly accept/hire people based on what they find out about them online; an absence on large social networks is implied to mean you had an account, but were embarrassed to make it public and you hid it.

I'm not defending the practice; I despise Facebook and hiring procedures. I'm also not defending the Iranian government, and wouldn’t hold anything against Zuck for not going there.

But this whole mantra that companies can get away with whatever privacy violations they want because use of their service is optional really has to stop, or they'll only keep getting away with more stuff.