Privacy. From the time we reach the oh so hormonal age of 12 we crave it.
"Mom, this is MY room!"
"Leave me alone, I need my PRIVACY, Dad! God!"
With a slam of a bedroom door, we felt in our adolescence that we had succeeded in achieving the uttermost solitary confinement, tucked away behind closed curtains, music blaring, alone with emotions. We would log onto our computers and digress to our friends how disdainful life was and how we couldn't wait to grow old and have our OWN house with our OWN things and ALL of it would be OURS and no one else's. We'd show them.
If only we knew.
Privacy, in my terms, is the moment when you close the bathroom door at your house and shut the blinds so you can privately take care of business. And that is all. If we go to school or work, people can see what you're doing, wearing, eating, feeling, saying. Log online and you might as well be naked on campus. Cookies, memberships, sharing files, hackers, all invade our daily privacy. With our lives revolving so much around computers and the Internet, it is hard to maintain any sense of real, safe, private moments.
For instance, on the phenomenon that is My Space, you are allowed to "Privatize" your profile. Viewers who are not your friends reach your page with a message that tells them that in order to see your profile, you must be friends. However, they can still see a picture, your name, a favorite cheesy quote of yours, your last log-in date, your age, and your city of residence. Hello!!! That's more information than I'd share with the hot guy sitting next to me in Economics class!!
Even if you generate passwords for everything on your computer or save certain things in private files, woe be the student who leaves his laptop unattended in Capen. According to the MSNBC article, when the Veterans Administration lost a laptop (LOST A LAPTOP?) with 26.5 million Social Security numbers on it, the agency felt the lash of righteous indignation from the public and lawmakers alike. (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC.com) Yes, if they can do that, we are prone to do it, too.
On the user friendly Wikepedia, Internet privacy is stated as the ability to control what information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and to control who can access that information. But what about those pop up ads that encourage me to seek out singles in the Buffalo area? What? How did they know I lived in the Buff zip code? Is someone watching me? Who? WHY. So, in essence, Internet privacy must not exist because I certainly can't control the fact that I live in Buffalo can be seen by millions of dating sites everywhere.
With all that said, people of the world might as well get used to the idea that we are all under constant scrutiny. From Youtube, to Facebook, to spam e-mail, to MySpace to shopping online, even logging online, each person is like a neon sign, flashing, screaming "Come Look at me! Here's my credit card number!!I go to school here!" Perhaps we should care, but with my network on MySpace reaching close to 158,000,000 people, I'm wondering if in 10 years we'll all be living in glass houses.
So to all the anguished, angst ridden angry teens out there who just want to be left alone: Slam your bedroom doors. Blare the music so mom and dad can't hear what your saying. Privacy for you? haha Right. All mom and dad have to do nowadays is hit the History button.
Sullivan, Bob. (October 17, 2006) Privacy under attack, but does anybody care? MSNBC Interactive.
Wikepedia: Internet Privacy http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Internet_privacy&oldid=108031912