Let’s face it — we no longer live in a private world.
There are two issues at play here. I’ve been learning recently about the ways people who are smarter than me are able to hack into our computers. Remember in The Dark Knight when Batman hacks into every cellphone in Gotham? He basically uses sonar technology to create a constantly updated map of the city, which he used to track the location of the Joker. According to most sources on the Internet, and a little bit of common sense, what he did was actually impossible (Sci-Fi Science Blunders, 2008). But the basic concept of accessing microphones and cameras is actually real. I know of people who cover the cameras on their laptop with tape when their not using it. How much of a threat does this actually pose to us? I won’t pretend to know.
More concerning to me is how much private information is intentionally displayed for public viewing every single day. Because of social media, anyone with your name and five minutes of spare time can not only see your daily activities, but the exact time and location of pretty much everything you do. That’s kind of insane. It sure makes a stalker’s job a lot easier!
Sure, there are privacy settings. At best, these can make you more difficult to find, and may prevent a stalker from finding out every nitty-gritty detail of your life, but it can never make you completely invisible. Because of a term called “anti-patterns”, Facebook can “truthfully say that it does what it promises, and even offers settings that let people lock-down their own accounts, while designing the site so even internet-savvy users … will end up exposing information .. never intended to [be made] public” (The Guardian, 2016).
So, privacy settings are not 100% effective, but they are still helpful. But they’re only actually helpful if you know how to use them. Many people are creating overly public lives because privacy settings are too complicated, or they don’t know about them in the first place. Again, easy pickings for Internet stalkers and hackers.
When it comes to Internet privacy, three types of people exist:
- Those who post everything about their lives and intentionally make it completely public.
- Those who don’t know enough about privacy settings and accidentally make everything about themselves public fodder.
- Those who ensure every effort has been put forth into creating a private profile
Effectively, none of these people have private lives. The sad reality is that nothing we put on the Internet is completely private. No setting is infallible. The only real filter is actively monitoring what we put onto social media. Some things just aren’t meant to be shared.
-Your Friendly Neighbourhood Blogger (Hyrum Sutton)
DARK KNIGHT [Image]. Retrieved from http://buf.com/IMG_WORK/2008.Feature/DARKKNIGHT_d/1000/DARKKNIGHT_009.jpg
Facebook Lock [Image]. Retrieved from http://i.amz.mshcdn.com/tFvl-aaxdoGwXIEbk68lJ2WhY6w=/950×534/2013%2F07%2F09%2F18%2FFacebookPri.359eb.jpg
Privacy Settings Tip [Image]. Retrieved from http://67.media.tumblr.com/e70f23946ed5adc9ff772dcd041c01de/tumblr_mn4rb0PH4F1srms8no1_1280.jpg
Sci-Fi Science Blunders Hall of Infamy. (August 7, 2008). Dark knight: Sonar phones? [Blog]. Retrieved from https://sfblunders.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/dark-knight-sonar-phones/
The Guardian. (June 29, 2016). Facebook is chipping away at privacy – and my profile has been exposed [Article]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/ jun/29/facebook-privacy-secret-profile-exposed