Do We Care About Pri­vacy Any­more?

Are you shar­ing too much on­line?

CLEO (Malaysia) - - NEWS -

The fi­nal in­ter­view for your dream job is go­ing per­fectly. They love your CV, your skills, and your on-point pen­cil skirt. “Is there any­thing else you’d like to tell us?” the in­ter­viewer asks. Sure is! “Here’s me get­ting an­ni­hi­lated last week­end,” you say, slid­ing a stack of pho­tos across the desk. “And that’s me get­ting a shoul­der ride from a guy at a fes­ti­val. With no top on, obvs.” You would never… But if you’ve posted pics on your “pri­vate” feeds, you won’t need to. They al­ready have ac­cess to them. Ev­ery­body does. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study, more than half of 18-25-year-olds re­gret some­thing they’ve posted on­line, while over 80 per cent say they didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate the long-term fall-out of those hasty posts at the time. As part of the first gen­er­a­tion to grow up on the web, work­ing out how job prospects, re­la­tion­ships, and men­tal health may be im­pacted by our on­line selves has been a trial-and-so­much-er­ror kind of thing. Sur­pris­ingly, the same sur­vey found that, con­trary to the myths about Gen Over­share’s taste for ex­hi­bi­tion­ism, dig­i­tal na­tives (old­per­son buz­zword!) are more con­cerned about pri­vacy than we used to be.

Dig­i­tal Eter­nity

Ev­ery­thing we post, ev­ery photo or tweet, will live for­ever on­line. Even af­ter delet­ing it, dig­i­tal info sticks around (as any­one who’s ever can­celled their Face­book pro­file and then opted back in, to find it com­pletely in­tact, will know.) But you al­ready know that, right? And chances are, you learned it the hard way. “We’re liv­ing our lives more and more in this sort of pub­lic state and the lines be­tween pub­lic and pri­vate are so blurred,” says Gog­gin. “We’re re­ally only just com­ing to terms with our dig­i­tal foot­print – how long it lasts, how per­sis­tent it is, our right to delete or be for­got­ten.” And, ac­cord­ing to Danah Boyd, tech guru-ess and au­thor of It’s Com­pli­cated: The So­cial Lives Of Net­worked Teens, most of us strug­gle with one fun­da­men­tal mis­con­cep­tion where our on­line selves are con­cerned: that our in­for­ma­tion is pri­vate by de­fault, and pub­lic when we make it so. How­ever, ex­actly the op­po­site is true, Boyd says. Ev­ery­thing is pub­lic, un­til we go out of our way to make it pri­vate.

Stak­ing Out Ter­ri­tory

“There’s no ev­i­dence to say that young peo­ple have loos­ened their at­ti­tudes to pri­vacy,” says Univer­sity of Sydney pro­fes­sor Ger­ard Gog­gin, who spe­cialises in dig­i­tal me­dia. “In fact, young peo­ple tend to be very savvy, mak­ing a lot of fine-grain de­ci­sions about what’s pri­vate, what’s pub­lic and what those con­cepts even mean.” Be­cause the bound­aries keep shift­ing, stay­ing in con­trol of our per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on­line is harder than keep­ing tabs on John Mayer’s dat­ing sta­tus. Ev­ery time Face­book re­sets its pri­vacy terms or a new app tempts us to check in and share our lo­ca­tion, we’re forced to make a spurof-the-mo­ment choice about what that means, now and in the long-term.

Knowl­edge Is Power

We might know the fun­da­men­tals in­side-out – don’t post fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion on­line (shout out to the dumb-dumb craze for post­ing pics of your first credit card, with the num­ber show­ing!), don’t post a pic of your amaze hand­bag col­lec­tion then men­tion you’re head­ing out of town (like Paris Hil­ton did be­fore The Bling Ring broke into her house), but what about the nitty-gritty pri­vacy pit­falls? “Peo­ple don’t re­alise any text you dic­tate to Siri is stored by Ap­ple,” says dig­i­tal pri­vacy ex­pert Stephen Wil­son. “Ap­ple’s terms and con­di­tions make hardly any men­tion of Siri which means they’re free to do what they want with any in­for­ma­tion you put in a text.” Like po­ten­tially trad­ing info with third par­ties about your shop­ping, so­cial­is­ing or search habits, so you end up with a tonne of re­lated spam and di­rect ad­ver­tis­ing. Wil­son cites the (shud­der) case in the US, where Tar­get worked out how to pre­dict a cus­tomer is preg­nant, based on changes in her pur­chas­ing habits and search terms. Be­fore she’s an­nounced it pub­licly, Tar­get had the news and was pump­ing her Face­book full of re­lated info. “That sort of thing can be a catas­tro­phe,” Wil­son says. A catas­tro­phe for us, that is. But for the com­pa­nies col­lect­ing, sav­ing and sell­ing the data, it’s a ma­jor mon­ey­maker. “We’re con­stantly forced to make trade-offs be­tween the im­me­di­ate ben­e­fits and the con­se­quences down the line,” Wil­son says. Faced with an im­pen­e­tra­ble 5,000-word pri­vacy state­ment, most of us will click “I agree” im­me­di­ately so we can jump straight to the fun stuff. “The penalty for not be­ing on Face­book and feel­ing so­cially ex­cluded is much more im­me­di­ate than some vague idea about pri­vacy,” Wil­son says. And maybe none of that will mat­ter in the long term. Maybe your few dumb posts and those in­crim­i­nat­ing fes­ti­val pics will get buried un­der the cy­ber-pile of other peo­ple’s even dumber posts. “But par­tic­u­larly when you’re start­ing out in work and adult life and you haven’t es­tab­lished your cred­i­bil­ity,” Wil­son ad­vises, “why not be as care­ful as you can?”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.