Friday, 21 October 2011

Doing away with privacy...

I thought this article here by Cindy Gallop was interesting with regards online exposure of ourselves. She turns the argument about our need and rights for privacy on its head. I am guilty of being a 'techie-laggard', I do not use facebook, twitter or msn and I'm sure there are other social networking sites that I have no clue about. So I guess this doesn't effect me as it will others and inevitably will in my children's lives as they grow up. We have heard in the news about employees getting the sack after images or videos appear on line incriminating them. Such free access of data about us should be a concern to us all as we don't have full control over who uploads what and for what reason. And people such as potential employers, now have access to all aspects of our lives, which can be much more revealing than any CV. Gallop makes an interesting point and flips the coin:

If you identify exactly who you are and what you stand for, what you believe in, what you value, and if you then only ever behave, act and communicate in a way that is true to you, then you never have to worry about where anybody comes across you or what you're found doing. By definition you are never caught doing anything to be ashamed of...
You know, I quite like this...perhaps a little idealistic, yet if we've got nothing to hide and aim for full transparency, there is less chance of any nasty surprises appearing on line.  Instead of complaining about our privacy - embrace and accept it is a part of lives...censor what we can or moderate our behaviour so that we are at ease with what is being said or pictured about us.

Another interesting point she makes to take back a little control is to register our 'own name' domain, fill it with our own content. Then when a search is carried out with our name, our own site will rank at the top of the search engine and you regain some influence as to the content they see.

It begs the question whether, going forward, people will consider uploading less, clawing back a little privacy, with perhaps more secure sites or less information being proffered. I think this is unlikely...for the generation of social networkers it is a huge and integral part of their lives.  However, I do wonder whether such users will become more strategic and calculating in how they utilise the powers of the web (or maybe web-savvy bods already are). Such 'publicity' doesn't become the fish and chip wrappers for yesterdays news.  Web content is long-term and indelible. This seems to be in contradiction with the informal way and language in which the web is used. The spontaneity and real-time usage means much web content is perhaps written or uploaded without considering its permanence and how it may be used or construed by others now or indeed well in to the future.

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