What Edward Snowden and Julian Asange did was commendable. They exposed the US Government’s long-kept secret that everyone is being snooped upon, throwing the ever-hungry media in a tizzy.
But my concern is not what the US Govt. takes from me. My worry is what I give them, thus making their job easier. Social media, long since its inception, is also considered as a social evil. Ironic as it may sound, it’s true.
My privacy is riddled with countless holes, thanks to myriad of sites out there.
So how then, can we argue and accuse anyone for snooping around, when every bit of my life today is by default public. Let’s take a trip down this not so private lane and see how I have left the crumbs behind all along for anyone who just cares to enter my name in the search bar. And what’s my best defense, lest something goes wrong?
Let’s find out…
Death of the Diary
Remember the time when some of us maintained a diary? A dairy that captured our moods, angry and happy, colourful and glum, etched in poetry, only for us or our special ones to read in our absence.
Beautiful days when we used to sit by the window, rain pouring on the rooftop and our heart pouring out on paper. Our diary used to be the center of our world. Had a fight in class? It went in the diary. His or her smile that made butterflies flutter in your stomach? It went in the diary. Fed a hungry kitten? It went in the diary too.
I take this moment to announce some sad news, that this beloved prized piece of ours, the diary, is pretty much dead. What killed it? A might rival? A better option? Actually, something that is completely opposite of this very concept of “my pirvate thoughts stay wit me”. It’s called Social Media, where your feelings aren’t only yours anymore.
The Privacy Paradox
Facebook has a record of my friends, my relatives, both close and distant, my childhood photos, graduation photos, wedding photos, anniversary photos and even likes in music, food and books and so on. So much so, it even knows what I am thinking, in real time. Foursquare knows where I am eating my lunch, whom am I with, and whether I liked my food or not. And if I eat at one place too many times, I am even promoted to a position I should supposedly be proud of. Twitter has a data bank of my opinions, views and my state of mind at any given point.
Wow! That’s practically my entire life for anyone who cares to just punch in my full name.
And this isn’t the guilty US government that’s put every piece of my life out there in the open. The person to do this, is none other than me.
Is there anything I can do, about this addiction, where I practically “share” anything I want to and can? Not really. Like for instance, earlier people clicked photos to turn the moment into a beautiful memory. Now, it all happens to gain more “likes”, comments and to tell the world know what you did over the weekend. But fret not! Facebook’s got your back. There is a “Privacy Setting” at your disposal. In all honesty, it is equivalent of a putting a wooden latch on a door to hold back a dragon.
They already have everything from my birth date to my last location visited, along with a time stamp. So say, I close down all the accounts. Share no information and photos. Can I then ensure I am safe? Perhaps not. Why? Because just when you thought it can’t get worse, world’s biggest advertising company, Google, introduced Google Glass. Your privacy just took a bullet in the head.
In case of privacy breach, Break Glass!
While the tech pundits and media wizards lauded Google for this “innovation”, it has left countless others really worried about their privacy. Imagine you are sitting with your family at a restaurant and the guy at the other table is facing you with his Google Glass pointed at you. He may be a perfectly normal guy, eating his lunch, and minding his business. Or he may be a freak who is recording your every move and your family too. Question is how are we to know? And the answer is we can’t. There is no way to find out who or what Glass is recording when.
As you may have read, bars in Vegas have already banned Google Glass even before it is released to public and the term ‘Glasshole’ was coined in no time.
In a world where privacy is wafer thin and minds of the people are thick, paranoia is inevitable. How much of all this worries you, will define your sanity.