Saturday, 25 April 2009

Who's tracking your online footprint?

With Twitter mania adding to the already established popularity of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and all those Google apps, the line between information and too-much-information gets another shade murkier.

While I voluntarily (for the most part) put up information about myself, scores of private and public organisations are collecting more information about what I do, the choices I make and my behaviour patterns.

As the New Statesman puts it, "Our digital records create a fast-growing laboratory of human behaviour."

I'm in the middle of research for a documentary about surveillance, and not surprisingly, the Government and Google regularly feature as the bad guys. Both have been criticised by privacy organisations for their disregard to dataprotection and privacy laws.

But as the same New Statesman article mentioned earlier goes on to point out, we may be confusing romantic ideas of anonymity with privacy.

It seems like a futile fight for anonymity, against the natural progression of a society where the information we share exponentially increases.

I'm coming around. It would seem that we require a completely new mindset, behaving in the straight-and-narrow. Because: 'Who's watching me? Who do I want watching me?'

Ironically, a half- finished 1984 stares at me from my bedside table.

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