Webster’s dictionary defines privacy as the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs (1). In today’s society it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep one’s life out of the public eye. Before the advent of the internet, parents, mentors and books used to teach people how to cook, clean, change the oil in a Chevy or various other things. It used to be easier to be self-sufficient because having “life” skills and street smarts was considered invaluable.
We are moving into an era where society doesn’t learn from their elders, they learn from the internet. The internet isn’t localized, it is a global community where information and ideas from all over the world meet and change. With Google, Facebook and YouTube being the top 3 sites on the web the consequences are inescapable (2).But it’s not just social media that one needs to be concerned with. The government has ways of tracking ISP addresses and can find out exactly what keywords you search no matter what search engine is used.
Google uses software that tracks what sites people visit. This allows Google to create profiles of the people that use the internet which they then use to sell niche advertising. Facebook uses platforms such as “friend of friends” and keeps track of what profiles people like and the interests they write about. This invasion of privacy is the reason people see advertising on the side of their profile pages for things they never searched for.
The future of privacy is scary. A person cannot do anything privately on the internet anymore. One day someone is searching for recipes, the next they are on Facebook and somehow the ads are for culinary school and the latest Betty Crocker cookbook. What’s even more dangerous is the fact that the general population is blind to the fact that they are being spied on with every keystroke, every page view and every log in.