Saturday, October 9, 2010

What is Privacy?

like a simple question doesn't it? Back in the early ninetys it was a
very simple question to answer. Back then it was simply no one in
your beeswax and everything you do is secret. Nowadays it's not as
cut and dry as that. The internet has made this question go into all
sorts of directions and has lead me to the following conclusion.
Privacy is what you think it is. Allow me to explain. Back when the
internet first started up as a mainstream product, I'm talking AOL
here, many of us were still new to the concept of putting anything on
it much less our picture and things that we didn't want complete
strangers to know about. We all can recall the little campaigns that
went around when the net first came out warning us that there were
nothing but sexual predators on the net and if you gave so much as
one spark of yourself then boom! Instant molestation. That may have
been the case for the net to begin with but even as a kid I thought
that was all common sense..don't know the person then don't tell them
where you live..completely obvious! Yet you still heard stories of
kids getting in trouble as I shook my head at a young age thinking
don't they have any sense? Later on in life however things began to
change. The social network happened and I don't mean the movie. The
first social network I can recall was myspace. A website that I hold
the same opinion as I did back then. An overbearing crazed mess of
code and girls trying to look way more cuter than they already offense intended to those that actually use myspace but
really the things some would make public would send me into fits of
laughter. Drunk collage kids saying how wasted they were and posting
pictures and then acting surprised when they didn't get that great
job..I wonder why... As the net evolved companys began to look at
profiles on social networks to see if a person was as clean as they
proclaimed and I dont blame them. If the person was nuts enough to
put it up then no privacy was violated..they put it up not the
company. My first social network I joined was a small network my
friends at school found called Bebo. A website far more popular In
the UK then at this side of the pond and yet as we used it we started noticing a trend at the school..others began to use it around
us..our social graph grew in a few short months. So much so that the
school actually blocked Bebo so kids would get their work done! I
didn't really do much on that site. I'm the first to admit that I was
a late adopter of the early social network still keeping the "why
would I put anything about myself on the net" mindset that I had
for years. I never had a myspace and to this day I still don't use it.
Bebo was a primer for me into the stage that I am now and that
started with one word: Facebook. A service I heard about as tech
reporter Leo Laporte explained in detail how it worked and how
finally you could choose who saw what. I had gone through a stage
where anything Leo tried, I had to try to. Hence why I started going
on Facebook as the early adopter for once instead of the late comer
as I told all my friends and they joined me for the ride..even my
mother is on Facebook now which really shows you how universal it actually is and I don't mean that as an insult. Facebook is the main
thing that most think of now when it comes to internet privacy as
they hit some bumpy roads as only geeks like me cared and the
adverage user had no idea what was going on and in the words of Mark
Zukerburg "didn't care about privacy." Of course when it
came to this insanity all the views of privacy came out of the wood
work from "I told you didn't I! The Internet will steal all your
information!" to "Well if you didn't want it seen why did
you put it up?" and even in the case of my dad "Why are you
doing this in the first's useless." You have to know
my father and his lack of loving any new internet trend to know why
he said that although to give him credit he does use forums. What is
my point in all this? Everyone is right and everyone is wrong.
Privacy is no longer a cut and dry thing like it used to. Want to put
everything up about yourself? Go ahead. Want to leave your self
unseen on the internet? Good for you. My point is that this is a
argument that has gone on far enough in my opinion. As one of my
favorite journalist, Jeff Jarvis, said "Privacy is dead."
And I say he's right in a way. The old fashioned definition of privacy
is dead and gone. Now it is up to the individual user to define what
privacy is to them and not let anyone else define it for them. It's
your life. Publish as much as you want of it as long as you are
willing to deal with the consequences of what may happen. In
short..use common sense!

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