Security Corner

Apr 23 2011   1:43PM GMT

Privacy is Dead

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

At one time, long before paranoid politicians, Madison Avenue ad agencies and the Internet, it was possible to enjoy true personal privacy. In fact, you could actually live in nearly total obscurity known only to those in close proximity. Not anymore. Today, privacy is dead, save for what you do in your own home (at least, I think that’s the way it is…). In particular, if you have established any sort of online presence, even if you just have a cell phone, then you are visible to the world.

Even if you you are not online, merely express your opinion to someone and if that someone takes issue (or agrees with you) and tweets or posts to Facebook or other social media you are visible if they name you. Most public records are online these days; genealogy websites, people search engines, newspaper archives, etc. all contain information about you. If you have lived, or died in recent history, you are known and visible to the world.

Don’t believe me? Type in the name of a deceased relative and see what happens.

Information about you, your life, your relatives is everywhere online these days. And this applies not only to what you do and say in public, but what you do and say in your own home or among trusted friends. Your private thoughts are no longer private if you express them to anyone–sooner or later, they will surface on the web. The only way to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself these days is to write them down in a personal journal that you keep under lock and key. Maybe. As long as no one else ever sees it.

Pretty scary, eh? We don’t need thought police ala George Orwell’s 1984.

We have the Internet.

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