In the past I’ve been guilty of dismissing articles about cyberstalking, profiling, privacy breaches, etc, as pieces of sensationalist journalism. I’m the type of person who’ll happily spend the weekend uploading photos to Facebook, leaving comments on other people’s whiteboards, joining the ‘Margaret Mountford (from The Apprentice) Appreciation Society’ and taking quizzes to determine ‘Which 30 Rock Character are you most like’? And all without a second thought because I’m happy that I’ve selected the highest level of privacy settings; only the chosen few, ‘my friends’ will get to see how sad I can be on a Saturday night!
But what about the areas of the Internet that you can’t control, as pointed out by Ian Spiegelman in his slightly chilling blog piece The Government, and our Advertisers, Are Well Aware of our Fetishes? Certainly made me think about the type of image that my online ‘clicking’ behaviour might project. A casual ‘click’ into Gawker over lunch, or Digital Spy on a Sunday afternoon, or even a wrong turn onto PerezHilton…argh, it doesn’t bear thinking about!
The American Congress are talking about establishing a ‘do-not-track-list’ which would at least give us more control over being monitored online.
About time too – let’s be a bit more savvy about who we allow into our virtual lives. I mean, seriously, what would George Orwell think?