Danger… Danger, Will Robinson!

BathroomI was writing a comment on the previous post and feeling constrained and then remembered “It’s my blog, I don’t have to use the comments if I don’t want to”. Which is kind of part of what I was trying to get at before. I also wanted to separate this out from the comments because I don’t want it to appear that what I say is directed at anyone who has commented on that post already or may comment there in future. OK, disclaimers and excuses and apologies out of the way.

This is what I’m happy doing:

I’m happy sharing all sorts of personal details and information about me online – in fact some people have said read my blog in order to find out more stuff about me. That doesn’t mean that I will share everything online. I’m not at all likely to publish my PIN numbers, passwords and the memorable information scripts to my bank’s security theatre. I’m not bothered about you knowing where I live, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give you a key to my flat.

That’s a fairly good summary of my privacy position. It makes sense to me. You may well take a different position on privacy. If my position doesn’t make sense to you, that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, it just means that we make different sense of the world. I know that some people feel uncomfortable about this level of openness.

I’m completely cool with you taking whatever position you like on information that you consider to be private to you. The potential for conflict arises when we share information but we don’t share a view on the appropriate level of privacy. You might try to shut me up. I may tell your secrets. Shit happens.

The question is, in a globally networked, hyperlinked, 24-hour world isn’t the inevitable movement towards a more liberal approach to this sort of privacy, simply because the cost of establishing and then enforcing the rules in an increasingly complex network of relationships is way too high (always assuming that enforcement is still possible)?

3 thoughts on “Danger… Danger, Will Robinson!”

  1. There is an interesting debate going on in the States about privacy of sorts. Several people have been caught out lately cheating on spouses or lying to co-workers or skivving off work. How were they caught? The toll road convenience cards and other forms of monitoring and surveillance which go on 24/7 in today’s age.

    We have opted for a wonderfully free and open model of society via the internet but dark forces are using it to claim they are protecting us while all the while using it to capture, control and order social routines.

    The question is, will the more we know about each other lead to more actions against each other–legitimate or not? Where will the “white lie” stand in a year’s time? How will my Facebook Status be used to monitor my whereabouts and mental well being? And will rational free choice be deemed anarchical when, say, I choose to not go straight home from the office but meet a long time friend for a drink at their local randomly? Will knocking on Lloyd’s door next time I’m in London at 3am land me in the nick as some sort of cyber-stalker?

  2. I think ‘bad people’ will inevitably use the information we put online against us, or to our detriment. Sales calls to your mobile number all the time would be a bit of an issue, for example.

    But then you’re going to have to measure that – as are we all – against the positive consequences. Long lost friends, business leads, serendipitous meetings, etc.

    But there are no rules, because the balance of those affects is very individual. For someone selling their wares, increased exposure is likely to reap a positive balance, compared to someone that isn’t.

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