Privacy in Today’s World

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We live in a world where just about everything we do involves the Internet. What we sometimes forget to notice is that the majority of things we post on the web are not as private as we assume they are. In a complex world where people are trying to figure out who they are privacy is a matter of protecting your tweets on Twitter, hiding your Facebook from the strangers point of view, or even making people request you on Instagram rather than just letting them see your pictures.

Privacy is something most of us want, but are very far from getting. Taken directly from Time Magazine, Joel Stein stated, “You know how everything has seemed free for the past few years? It wasn’t. It’s just that no one told you that instead of using money, you were paying with your personal information.” Personally, this statement shows how times are changing and the world is evolving. Being private is something you chose to be, but even those of us who aim to be as private as possible still are not. Don’t believe me? Well, according to Michael Arrington from, just try typing your name into and see if you’re still as private as you thought. Next time you want to say you’re the most private person around, search yourself and you’ll find a lot of surprises coming your way. Because of this, I find it hard for anyone to be truly private, unless you live without any social media, email, cell phone, or computer. Basically you’re disconnected from the social world.

Looking at a public aspect rather than private the one website that pops into mind is Youtube. How many viral videos have come out over the years? I’m sure one just popped up in your mind. If you have never watched a viral video, here’s an example of one. About 20 years ago, nothing like this would have happened. People display their lives on Youtube. Ranging from cooking, fashion, or makeup blogs, to how to do skateboard tricks. People display their lives for the world to see as entertainment, but they don’t consider the privacy of their lives while doing this. This can lead to serious problems down the road. Just remember not to give out any personal information, because thats when the trouble starts.

Our world is continuing to evolve and the issue of privacy is going to keep coming up as social media and the Internet continues to become a way of life. Do you think that over time privacy settings on websites will become more secure? Also, do you think that people will start to monitor the information they give out to the public?


What Does Privacy Mean Today?

Everyone is entitled to a private life, but there’s no guarantee that your entire life is private. In today’s world, between signing up for different social networks, shopping online, applying for a credit card, and so much more, we are providing personal information about ourselves. Once that information is out there, it becomes difficult to keep track of it (check out this related article).

We think nothing of it when a website asks us to provide our name and email address, but doing so can allow others to find more information about us. For example, the website Spokeo collects and then sells your personal information. Most of you are probably thinking to yourselves how do they know all that information about me? Well, you’re the one that provided it to them; you just didn’t know you were doing so at the time. Yes, they may do some digging in order to obtain all that information on you, but they are able to find your personal information because you had previously entered it somewhere online.

According to the article Data Mining: How Companies Now Know Everything About You published in Time Magazine, “There’s no code of conduct. There’s no standard. There’s nothing that safeguards privacy and establishes rules of the road.” There truly are no limits when it comes to the Internet. You can Google somebody’s name and find a good amount of information on them even though that person has never put their information out to the public. Most of us tend to think that our lives are completely private, but that’s usually not the case. Not only is it easy for relatives or friends to find information about you on the Internet now, it’s also very easy for law enforcement.

As taken from the article, Facebook friend turns into Big Brother“Law enforcement has to evolve with technology, it has to happen.” Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram are making it easier for law enforcement to find and punish people for certain crimes such as underage drinking. Some people are against this, because they believe that law enforcement should be out stopping crime, not sitting on a computer analyzing people’s social networks.

Taken directly from The American Civil Liberties Union, according to Nathan Wessler the FBI claims that it can read emails as well as other electronic communications without a warrant. How does that make you feel knowing that your personal emails are being read by the FBI? I’m sure you feel like it’s a violation of your privacy. This is just another example showing that when it comes to the Internet nothing we do is private.

Privacy has changed over the years; it is harder to keep our lives to ourselves. Between social networks, and everything the Internet has to offer it is much easier to obtain information on other people. Do you think it is possible to be truly private? What do you think about law enforcement’s idea in regards to evolving with technology?

When Google can read your mind and your boss knows what you had for lunch.

It’s official, we live in a world where thousands of tweets, status updates, images, videos, and comments are posted every minute. Given this fact, it might seem fairly obvious what it means to live in public. The internet has become so intertwined with daily life that it has become second nature for people to post an image of their favorite sushi roll or let the world know what’s on thier mind. It’s obvious that this “public” way of living is eliminating many aspects of privacy, but it also presents a great deal of positive advantages.

Think about it this way, as a race we have gone from strictly engaging in face to face connection to communicating and connecting with a network of millions. When internet service became common in American homes we were limited to slow dial-up connection (some of us are still haunted by it’s connection sound) and simple user profiles. Fast-forward ten years and millions of people have interactive and multimedia-rich facebook pages. Facebook alone has evolved from a modest database of college students to an empire that hosts millions of profiles around the world.

People have gone from keeping a private journal to vlogging, blogging, and tweeting every aspect of their lives. Although this can be detrimental in certain cases, (i.e. 10 People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media Mistakes) it also connects people to each other on a broad and mass scale. This makes it easier to collaborate and unite for worthy purposes and ideas such as charities, crisis recovery, business startups, and political issues just to name a few.

Also, another factor of “living publically” deals with online advertising. In reading Chris Anderson’s essay “The Long Tail” this week I realized the power of targeted advertising. We’ve all noticed that after searching for certain products or including something in our “interests”, advertisements “magically” adjust to reflect what we posted or searched. This raises the question of whether or not companies should be allowed to gear their ad’s based on our profiles and searches. (Check out this relevant Time Magazine article)

It’s undeniable that many people today lead very public lives. In some ways everyone is a “public figure” but how is this new way of communicating and sharing information affecting us?

I’ll end this blog here with a couple of questions…

1. Since we make our interests public and search the web using google, do you think its fair for companies to sell and use our information?

2. Do you think employers should consider Facebook and Twitter accounts when hiring and firing?

Private Eyes (are they really watching you?)

The concept of privacy today is much different than ever before. Privacy today is keeping your personal information to yourself. So much information about people is available on the internet, whether they like it or not. I’ve experienced this lack of privacy in my own life. For example, even though I don’t have a Facebook account, so much of my personal information has ended up on there just from other people posting things. It is almost like if you choose to be an active person and go out and do things, others will see it or find out about it online. It is my own choice to not have a Facebook, however, many of my friends and family members do have accounts. And through them, pictures of me are posted on Facebook. Then, as a result, random people I know can end up finding out where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with all because a friend posted pictures of us. I would consider this very un-private, especially since I try to keep my life private and offline. I personally feel that it is almost as if there is no preventative action or anything I can do without people somehow knowing more about my life than I bargain for. What I have concluded is that by putting something on the internet, even if the account is set on “private,” it will always lead to the possibility of other people finding out things you might not want them to.
When I was reading that article “10 People Who Lost Jobs Over Social Media Mistakes,” it hit me. For example, it mentions how a teacher who had her account on private was still asked to resign because other teachers whom she was friends with saw everything (like pictures of her drinking and partying) which led to the principal seeing it. So even though this account was “private,” people she wouldn’t want seeing the account still saw it. I personally find it hypocritical for a person to have any social media and yet want their life to be private. It’s kind of like if you are going to put yourself out there in any way at all, you need to expect an invasion of privacy. In the article “Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity” I found it dead on when the author stated that, “…privacy is about having control over how information flows.” One’s life cannot be private online since people talk and share information.
After watching the documentary, We Live in Public, I became seriously frightened. I was really disturbed by the entire thing. One thing that really stuck with me was when someone alluded to the idea that by being public with your information, you are basically just looking for attention or a certain “fifteen minutes of fame.” I know this is getting off on a tangent but I have to wonder and ask, are we really posting stuff because we find it interesting or cool, or is it what we believe other people will like? Is everything we say and post really just to get attention from others so we feel liked and socially accepted?
In conclusion, I realized that people can find out things about you without you even knowing. It really hit me recently as a friend of mine showed me a picture of a random stranger doing something weird. It is like at any time people might be watching what you are doing. I realize that I sometimes to take pictures of strangers that might be weird or look like someone I know. So based off of that, I think one can never have their life truly private, if they choose to go out in public. But I guess my question is…is it wrong to take pictures of people without their consent? Is that an invasion of privacy? Also, how many of you do the same?
These links were things I found interesting to our time.
I found some of the viewpoints of this article very interesting. Some similar to my own beliefs.

When I saw this, it just proved to me how popular taking secret photos of people is.