Privacy, the Internet, and my phone — how the hell did that happen?

My brilliant new phone has just revealed to me two albums of pictures which I made in 2010 on my camera. From these two albums I had uploaded — via another person’s computer using a programme called iPhoto — only a few to Facebook. Nevertheless, both albums are on my phone (not an iPhone) in their entirety

How the hell did that happen???

I am not as naive to believe that there isn’t an incredible amount of information on the Internet about me. Fair enough, most is ‘lost’ in the infinite amount of information that there is online, but still.

Again, I want to refer to Evgeny Morozov’s interesting book The Net Delusion. He speaks of technologies, and how some, which are initially thought to be revolutionary ‘good’/’beneficial’, over time lose there flair, or are revealed to have unexpected averse effects after all.

The television, believed to be the means to bring people closer together, now seems to separate even the members within a family/household. In developed, countries it is uncommon to have only one or two televisions for a household of four, but more like one per family member, and maybe one in the bathroom.

Morozov can imagine research/conferences being held on the environmental impact of the Internet, or how Internet affects climate change… And with good reason.

The use of the Internet impacts our live to such an extent, and is developing so quickly, that the ‘unforeseeability’ of where things are heading is frightening. Privacy, censorship and monitoring mechanisms, are some of those things. It has caused many of us, in countries to China, Iran, Belarus etc to be imprisoned.

I have played with the thought of going to Iran for a couple of years now, but one of the reasons why I am hesitant to go, is this — my publicly available blog. The simple fact that I can write about anything is great. But the possible consequences of my visibility are simply disturbing. And where to draw the line? Are my posts neutral enough to not have to worry about anything? Or is there just that one particular, seemingly innocent, thing I once said that could cause problems?

TIME wrote an article on 25-05-2013 about a loss in popularity of Facebook, particularly among teens. One of the main reasons for teenagers being that their ‘privacy’ is ‘infringed’ due to the fact that (apparently for 70% of the kids) their parents are also on Facebook, and might ask questions about why the teenagers (in the high time of his or her puberty) posted this or that comment/picture/link/video.

These are very different things to be concerned about, but are could be very worrisome on a society scale in one degree or another. Let’s not be overly-optimistic about the infinite possibilities of the Internet, but rather be conscious of where it might take us.

Having said that, I am looking for a job somewhere in the broad sphere of the Internet myself (not censorship/privacy-related, but rather in social media marketing). What can be said with quite some certainty is that the Internet will continue to play a large, and increasing, role in our lives.

 

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