While I tend not to be alarmist by nature, I must admit the whole idea spooks me a little, too. I plan to resist Timeline until I no longer have a choice, simply because I don’t care for it. But the idea that every single post I have ever offered up will be resurrected, and I will have a mere seven days to sift through years of activity, is daunting. Why on Earth would the Facebook gods save all that stuff?? The same goes for Google. I’m much more creeped out than happy that my searches are going to be custom tailored to my tastes as gleaned from past searches and reams of other personal data about me they have been collecting. Too many ramifications above and beyond social media practicalities stand out in my mind.
The only thing to fear is…
A few years ago I attended a seminar on internet safety for adolescents and their parents. We were scared silly as we watched the officers of the Sheriff Department’s Internet Crimes Division demonstrate how easily a would be predator could locate a child, narrowing down location to near pinpoint accuracy simply by asking three completely mundane, innocuous questions. Queries like “What time is it (narrowing down time zone),” “What’s the weather supposed to be tomorrow (approximate region within time zone),” and “What’s the name of your school’s soccer team (self explanatory, once location is determined)?” These days, merely knowing an approximate location is all that’s required, given the wonders of services like Google Places, Foursquare, and others that in a regular line of reasoning could be considered a boon to us all. Top that off with the fact that we all know how easily some of this world’s “shady” computer tech wizards can hack into systems; can breaking into these servers make tracking victims even easier?
The same goes for those malevolent perpetrators of internet scams. How much easier might it become for them to ply their evil trade, what with all of our most sensitive data pretty much there for the taking by those unscrupulous beings?
Lastly, when you think of burgeoning governments that overstep their bounds and intrude into every aspect of citizens’ private lives, wresting control over them and ultimately stripping them of their God given rights, one has to wonder what potential lays in all of our minutest life details resting in the hands of officials who have strong bonds with those who occupy the highest ranks of rogue governments the world over. I’d be surprised if this was NOT among the fears propelling the people who repel the notion that all their personal life details being cached is a good thing.
Fears are not assuaged when Google says, “If you don’t like it, you can opt out of using our services.” Really? Is there a service anywhere on the worldwide web that is NOT connected to Google to one degree or another? Even if you DO manage to find something, what is the guarantee that the Google honchos really did purge your personal data upon your departure from their network?
What Can We Do?
Bottom line to me: these privacy issues are here. They are inevitable. The only thing we can do is stay extra vigilant. Watch what you put out there going forward, and if possible try to keep track of what details in your past might crop up to haunt you. It’s not a comfortable feeling when you have no idea how much of your private lives the world is privy to. Do your best to avoid feeding the maw that would gobble up every detail, only to possibly regurgitate it all where you would rather it not happen.
How do you feel about this whole privacy issue? Is it a concern to you? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!