A Word on Internet Privacy

There’s a great debate on Internet privacy going on nowadays, and I just feel like I have to present my own opinion.

First and foremost, I have been feeling lately like the Internet is invading a bit. Not so much that I would feel the need to shut down and start over, mind you, but still – Facebook is getting a little clingy, with that little “like” button showing up everywhere, even on sites where I don’t have an account. And it’s starting to recommend people I know but have never given contact info to. It wasn’t this extreme for me, but when my aunt asked me to make a Facebook account for her, I literally made it and 5 friend suggestions showed up in her notifications seconds after – all of these were people she knew in real-life.

I assume it got this information from her email account, which I used to make the Facebook account – but still: Facebook is prying through your email. It’s smart enough to match that information up with the people you know in real-life. Facebook knows who you know. It can map out the basics of your whole life just from who you talk to. Not to be a conspiracy theorist or anything – I really don’t think Facebook is actually doing anything with this information – but it has the information, and that’s what many people consider overstepping the boundaries already.

Something that also annoys me is the infernal quote: “If you don’t have something to hide, why are you worrying?”

Because some things are private, that’s why. They wouldn’t kill you if they got out; you wouldn’t go to jail; but they might be pretty damn embarrassing. Or they just might be things that you were trying to keep private.

The fiancé you were planning to hide from your mother? Yeah, Facebook just recommended him as a friend to her. It’s the little things like that.

On the flipside, that quote is slightly true. Looking up “how to make chloroform” isn’t going to take you to the prison yard. What is going to take you there to drop the soap is making chloroform and using it to knock them out, preferably doing abhorrent things to their unconscious bodies. Not even the most morbid thing will make the government suspect you – until you actually do it and they whip out your history to show to the world.

But for many people (and I think their opinion is quite valuable too), they’re never going to do anything related to their Internet history. But someone somewhere, even if they’ve never looked at it, has all this history. And for many, that’s enough.

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