When it comes to internet security, everything is secure….. until it gets hacked. The only way to stay truly private online and guarantee that privacy is to never post anything, never create any profiles ever, never connect to anybody and to use aliases always. Even then your information is not secure because institutions hold electronic records, and as we have seen so many times, they have been hacked too.
I used to have issues about security too until I realised that anything I ever did online could potentially be distributed. After that I started to agree with Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. He would like to see and end to privacy policies in general. He is not stupid though. He knows that if he did not have privacy policies (even if they are much criticised) in place on Facebook there would be no facebook. So why do I think that privacy policies are a false security?
Privacy is probably (not potentially) temporary online. Addressing peoples privacy concerns only pacates them. It does not give the guarantees that people think it gives in the first place.
Look at what happened in Georgia. Their whole countrys’ web infrastructure was brought down by prolonged botnet attacks. There are people in this world for whom the locked doors of security are only an illusion. If one man with asbergers in the UK can access US military infrastructure just by scanning the network for unsecured terminals (not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination) then how secure is anything else really?
For me, the real question is why do I care about my information being shared? Why is it a problem for people to be able to find me online, find what I have written and be able to contact me easily through social media like Facebook? The answer I came up with was that I don’t care unless I have written information of a sensitive nature. If I have written something disparaging about somebody else then I would care about that getting out. But If I have not written anything that I wouldn’t stand by then I don’t care if the world knows it.
Even if I’ve written a moan about work that’s ok in my book. Everybody has off days and the odd rant just reflects it. What is not ok is making snide comments about my boss or workmates. Funnily enough, that would not be ok in an office environment either. So basically, the same rules as apply in the real world apply online. The difference is that suddenly my opinions are global instead of confined to a small local area (or few people).
People fear privacy breaches because they fear that an open facebook profile will allow their bank to be accessed or a future employer to see that they like to dress up at the weekend and call themselves Mandy.
What will actually happen (and remember that we have a whole generation of young people who’s entire lives are recorded on the internet), is that employers will cease to be as blinkered and realise that what really counts is somebody’s ability to do the job and integrate with the rest of the people they will be working with.
Obviously there are exceptions, like illegal activities that would cause problems for an employer should it be known. There are also some jobs that could be influenced by a facebook picture. Who would trust a minister of health who was pictured partying with a bottle of beer in one hand and snorting coke with the other? But the point is that somebody with that in their background should NEVER be a minister of health in the first place.
As lives become more open, then people will become more tolerant and hopefully honest. Who do you trust more, somebody who says, yes I smoked marijuana in college, or somebody who says I smoked it in college but I never inhaled?
A lack of online privacy would force people into leading better lives; to be accountable for all of their actions; to think before they take those actions. After all, once information has been exposed on the internet it stays there forever… even if it is deleted it remains in caches.
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”
“oh, yeah? we saw the pictures on facebook dude!”
The only real reason for promoting internet privacy is to help people cover up things they would not want to be public knowledge. For the most part that means transgressions. In some cases it may mean something else like mental health issues. But frankly if everybody who has ever had some form of mental health issue put their hands up the world would be shocked. Wouldn’t that information being more public help remove stigmas that exist because people try to hide things in the first place?
From another perspective I have to ask myself… why would anybody be interested in my information anyway? I’m just one of billions of people in the world. I’m not that interesting!
We live in an age where you can become world famous nearly instantly just by uploading a video to youtube. This is alien to those of us for whom the internet did not exist when we were growing up.
We have new technologies. It gives us tremendous and previously unimaginable potential but, as with anything, every benefit has some more dubious side effects. Does that mean that we should abandon the technology?