Is Privacy A Thing Of The Past?

As I sat and watched Mike Arrington of TechCrunch interview Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, I heard them discuss the future of privacy.  It seems that Zuckerberg is evangelizing the death of the doctrine of privacy.  With Facebook being the largest social network out there, that is a pretty scary notion given the fact that we all are signing up and turning our social life over to the Internet.  I wonder what privacy will look like in the next few years?  In fact it seems to be changing at a rapid pace and evolving with every new application.

I recently helped present a series at my son’s school on “Cyber Safety”.  In addition, local law enforcement also presented on the dangers of the world of social networks and what our children are doing online and the predators that are out there and their methods.  It was very sobering to figure that there are that many people out there trying to harm our kids via the Internet and social networks.  An yet, we are all flocking to these networks as our new playgrounds and the place to be and all from the safety, or so it may seem, of our own homes.

I am particularly interested in geo-location or geo-tracking applications that are becoming more and more popular.  Twitter themselves have opened up location based Tweets so that people can determine your whereabouts as you click away at 140 characters.  These software applications are so new that they have yet to become mainstream uses for evil but it can only be a matter of time until we begin to hear of predators using them and suddenly you will hear of their evil deeds on the prime time news.

Is privacy going away?  Is our notion that we are protected by privacy laws and common sense enough?  Have you read the terms of service of each and every software application that you are using today?  Perhaps you have agreed to give up your rights to a private life by participating in that latest cool place to hang out on the Internet?  In 2009 I deemed it “The Year of Listening” as that was the new marketing mantra.  If that were the case, we should probably listen to what I am now calling “The Year of Privacy.”  It could turn out that our privacy will then turn into the “Year of Living Dangerously.”

photo via Alan Cleaver_2000

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