Sunday, April 27, 2014

Privacy

How much do you value your privacy? I imagine I could guess with a certain amount of accuracy based on the generation you're from. I wonder though, will privacy ever be valued as much as it once was? My grandparents are fairly big on it. My parents are less concerned with it, but my father is still hesitant to give out his name. I value it, but I value it as currency. It is something I relinquish (happily) in order to gain access to various virtual items, like Gmail or even this blog.

I understand some people of my age group are still attached to privacy. A couple of months ago I invited a few friends to use an app that accessed their phone numbers from my phone when I sent the invite. It didn't even cross my mind that it would be an issue, but some of them weren't happy about it. I don't want to say that shocked me, but it did catch me off guard.

And older people are sometimes more lax with their privacy than myself. I have heard (more than a couple times) people freely give away their passwords. I have a password which I'm comfortable with giving away, because it's only linked to things I don't mind if people bother with, but I wouldn't give up any password but that one, and if I did, I would have strong desire to track down every account attached to that password and change it.

I've seen people be less than careful with their social security numbers and their PINs. Those are things I wouldn't even want to give a loved one, because they're simply meant to be kept private, except in regards to corporations, which I find an interesting double standard, that we (or at least myself) 'trust' corporations with certain information more than we (I) do individuals who I'd trust with my life.

I guess it's not trust that I have for the corporations though. There are certain pieces of information I am expected to provide to them, and they are expected to keep certain pieces of information private. Again, privacy is a part of the transaction, it's a currency, and in the case of my SSN they are meant to (I think) hold that number close to their chest. With Google, there is no expectation that's what they're going to do. You also get more from Google though, I'd argue.

Anyway, regardless of if you're more concerned with privacy than me, or less, it's widely being, I don't want to say devalued, but its becoming less of a concern. I think that it will become less and less of a concern as time goes on. As people are born into a world where privacy isn't brought up in households as something young people should concern themselves with. Why care what people know about me? Especially when I'm just a single number in a batch of big data. Maybe being a part of the crowd will be its own kind of privacy.

At lunch today, though, it was pointed out to me that it's very possible that privacy will make a come back at a certain point. Maybe our generation will be greatly affected by our lack of privacy somehow, and pass on this experience, telling our children to be careful with what they give. Maybe people who have grown up in a world with little to no privacy will cherish what little they are able to get, granting a value to it higher than any generation before.

I can picture a future where people shed themselves of whatever technology replaces the smartphone, and a night or two every month they take a walk outside the city. Maybe people will do it on their own. Maybe people will do it with each other, and establish a velvet curtain intimacy. Maybe they don't come back.

What do you think?