For centuries, mankind has thrived on selective anonymity. Have a bad day? Lay low at home where nobody can find or reach you. Unfortunately, these days, being able to disappear completely from any radar is a luxury few can afford. 1 false step can make you the next GIF sensation. 1 bad interview can turn into a viral career-killer faster than you can say “cornball brother.” Just ask any celebrity, athlete or politician: the dissemination of information created by our technological growth as a society has drastically reduced our margin for error as individuals.
The overarching problems are simple:
- Our fanatical obsession with real-time digital information has turned into a lot of very, very, valuable personal data
- As secure and private as we like to convince ourselves this information is, it is much more readily available than most think
Don’t believe me?
Sending 3 second dirty snapchat videos to your significant other? Maybe you should think twice about that.
Think a couple of stored passwords do the trick for all of your social accounts? Mat Honan’s destroyed digital life begs to differ.
Geotagging your photos so all your friends can know where you are? #MaybeNotSuchAGoodIdea.
Our reliance on technology has turned human interaction (once a face-to-face instant in time) into a trackable, methodical map of our daily relations. Facebook not only stores your chats in a huge off-site database, it also has a team dedicated to monitoring and scanning for any kind of suspicious activity. Certain employees at Google with account access could print you out a report of your digital tendencies to the minute. Working from your mobile device on an unsecured Wi-Fi network could result in all of your information being stolen. If you’re a BYOD working man in an airport, that could cause a loooot of problems.
Bottom line: we have an information problem. Yes, it is a problem. Mobile capabilities, social networks, faster processors, powerful databases and general evolution of technology has created an obsession with the “now” and turned the internet into a war zone, with the spoils (your information) going to the savviest cookie-gatherers.
So go ahead, tell me a secret. But do it in person, because chances are if you’re doing it online, I’m not the only one hearing it.