Privacy Please: Privacy (or Lack Thereof) In the Tech World

Privacy Please: Privacy (or Lack Thereof) In the Tech World

Jason Yang
Apr 11, 2011

Recent news that Google was pulling Street View out of Germany over privacy issues despite a positive court ruling on its legality had us wondering how technology affects our privacy stateside. It's a quandary of individuals demanding privacy in the modern age yet blogging personal information and pictures at the same time.

Recall the huge phone book where the telephone company would list every person's phone number and address. As more and more households are dropping land line telephone service and only using their cell phones, the public listings have slowly shrunk. Consider if you might make your cell number publicly available to the world? Much less your home address! An unfortunate side affect of lost land lines seems to be less funding for emergency services from taxes, although we are all aware of those huge taxes and fees added onto our massive cell phone services.

You hear of all the backlash against body scanners at airports, and how photographs have been leaked out showing fuzzy images of naked travellers. But then consider how sexting has become so popular among our youth today. We hide our perversions and are shameful of sexuality, yet pornography is a $100 billion dollar industry.

How well do you know your neighbors? It seems the days of borrowing a cup of sugar or having the Joneses over for supper have gone by the wayside. People seem to be sticking to themselves and their own homes more and more. If the home is where the heart is, it's become a bunker in the modern age of privacy. Yet the more fences we put up, the more we're sharing with the world about our homes. Our houses are becoming treasure chests and we're blogging and leaving status messages to everyone about it. Robbers could easily target any house and generally expect to find nice flat screen TVs, laptops, cameras, and other gear. Not to mention the numerous websites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, or Google Latitude where we tout our status and location, pretty much providing a shopping list for what's available in our homes and when we're not there for the taking. It's like a big welcome mat laid out, which is counter to all our expectations for increased privacy.

We share and share and share, until we suddenly care and complain that someone like Google or Facebook has no right to our information. But hey, didn't we just give it to them in the first place?

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(Images: Flickr members Rob Pongsajapan, Jerry Paffendorf and Daniel Lobo licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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