How much of our privacy are we willing to forfeit in the name of convenience? That’s a subject that has long interested me, even more so with my recent discussion with a friend about the implantable RFID chips that have been in the news.
Technology is playing a huge, important role in most of our lives. We blog, upload our personal photos to sharing sites, listen to our portable mp3 players, talk and text message with our cell phones, and spend countless hours on the internet looking up everything from maps to concert tickets to used books.
I have been resistant to some of this technology on the basis that it might infringe on my right to privacy. However, I have noticed that given enough time, I will slowly begin to adapt and adopt these things until I feel dependent on them. I call this process “Technology creep”, because it creeps up on me.
When I first started blogging, I was intent on remaining completely anonymous. That soon morphed into a list of 100 things about myself, a photo of me on the side of the page, and revealing some of my innermost feelings for the whole world to read.
Flickr was another service that I resisted. I knew that I could keep my photos private, but I’ve seen reports of people’s photos showing up in the wrong accounts. I would upload a few photos and then delete them out of fear that they might fall into the wrong hands or get used for the wrong purposes. I finally brushed away my fears as “paranoia” and have now uploaded almost 2000 photos, convincing myself that it’s a good way to preserve those memories.
The internet can reveal a plethora of information about any particular user. Amazon keeps track of the items we view, we do our banking and pay our bills online, email can contain private thoughts we might never want revealed publicly, and search terms can reveal our medical problems. All of this information is being stored somewhere and indefinitely. We give a little of ourselves away one piece at a time.
I remember watching an episode of MTV Cribs that profiled Mariah Carey’s glamorous Manhattan apartment. She refused to let them film her bedroom or her most prized possession – a piano that belonged to Marilyn Monroe. When asked why, she simply replied, “I fear if I show that, what’s left for me?”
Well said, Ms. Carey. Maybe I should ask myself that question.