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Posts Tagged ‘Big Zucker-brother’

Thoughts on Digital Identity in an Increasingly Transparent Future

June 5, 2009
An example of an individual who has mapped out his digital identity

An example of an individual who has mapped out his digital identity

How many tweets have you deleted so far in your life? How many photos have you de-tagged since you joined Facebook? If you’re like me, over the years you’ve determined that all Facebook photos and ill-timed tweets are not created equal and are not all fit to print. As I’m sure many people have realized, social networking sites thrive on the evaporation of a wall of privacy that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Contact information, personal photographs, and self expression have exploded on the internet, all under the guise of “privacy” in the form of marking a check box to disallow certain people access to your digital life. Ten years ago (or about that time) I remember having my grandfather over for dinner. It was the night we decided to show him the Internet. We determined the best way to simultaneously blow his mind and sufficiently freak him out was to show him that his personal information was available without much searching. When we hit up whatever yellow pages site was popular at the time, we quickly located him and showed him that his address was available for anyone to see. We took it a step further by showing him how we could get directions to his house using that address. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t terrified. The best way I could describe his reaction would be to call him mystified. I’ll never forget what he said after his jaw finally un-dropped: “If I didn’t put that stuff on there, then how did it get there?” We all had a good laugh about the whole thing, but part of me always ruminated on what he said. Much like a child can often see through something and arrive at a very simple explanation for something immensely complicated, my grandfather had showed me something increasingly alarming about the Internet. (more…)

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