. . .
“I’d have my own door and everything,” I say. Even Casey doesn’t have his own door!”
from: Private Lily
by Sally Warner
illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers
Alfred A. Knopf, 1998
Like most little girls, I kept a diary. It was small and white with flowers on the cover. It had a little lock and a little key that I hid in my underwear drawer. I wrote about how unfair it was that I couldn’t have a pet with fur or feathers. We only kept fish and turtles. Or how my sister and I were tasked with after-dinner kitchen-duty and my brother got to watch Gilligan’s Island or Mr. Ed. or My Favorite Martian. Or why I had to wear ankle socks when the rest of the girls were allowed to wear knee-socks. I’ll probably never understand that one.
Some people are closed books. They don’t share anything of themselves with anyone. Does this stem from having a fearful personality? Is it egocentric? Maybe a pervasive sense of cautiousness? The reason really doesn’t matter. The fact that privacy has come into the front of our collective consciousness does.
When I decided to be “out there” I wanted social media sites to help me reconnect with friends I have lost track of. I wanted a webmaster to help me stay in touch with people who are important to me. I wanted technology to help me tell the world, “Hey, I’m here!”
I did not want anyone to gather and send information to people and entities I don’t even know.
Here’s what happens: I want my friends to know I found this great new restaurant (clothing store, nail salon, car mechanic. . .) So I hit a “like” button, or even maybe make a comment about the place. Suddenly, unasked for, an endless stream of ads pop up begging me to try delectable hamburgers or view swim suits or buy non-electronic kids’ toys.
I understand. Nothing is really free. I pay for using the internet by spending some time deleting ads (or ignoring them) from companies that help pay for Yahoo and Google and Amazon. Have you read their privacy policies? Hmmm. Made sure your privacy is as protected as it can be?
Privacy matters to me now, because my trust has been betrayed. I did not expect my tech choices to be shared with governments, domestic or foreign. Benign or malicious. Apathetic or hyper-engaged.
I’ll be the first to admit that I depend on technology, a little. I sometimes buy stuff. I research information I’m interested in or that I think will help flesh out a piece I’m writing. I sometimes play games.
It’s when an on-line service or company thinks it can discover my personal taste or choices or interests that I feel a little queasy.
I’m not doing anything wrong, so why does “what’s out there” matter? The fact that someone (something) else can turn my blips and dots of information into something to use against my government is very disturbing.
I’ll stay on Facebook, at least for now. I have a Twitter account, too. (Thanks, Ray!) but haven't started using it, yet. Besides, I like to see what you’re up to, too!
--stay curious! (and careful)