We used to live in a world where everything was private...photos of loved ones, where we got drunk, where we ate and what we thought about before going to bed. That has all changed recently and privacy has basically been thrown out the window. Online privacy is not complicated, it's not buried in any complicated Facebook settings page or by checking in "off the grid" or by making your Youtube videos private, quite simply it just doesn't exist. If you are putting something online it will be found. The common thoughts among the online community are that "everything defaults to public" or in other words privacy will barely be an option in the future.
So where did all this start? Well it was inevitable that with an improvement in mobile technology and real time web services that we would start sharing more content. The real spur on all this was Twitter over the last couple of years and the sheer growth it saw. Facebook was very much a private network before Twitter came along and opened up the way we communicate online and share our thoughts with a wider network. The worry I have with this is that despite companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google telling us they want to do more good in the world and connect people and share information effectively I have to call bullshit on that. They are all companies that are under pressure from shareholders, VCs and investors who are in this to make money. Our whole online privacy and how we communicate is basically controlled by a group of very young people who are backed by professional investors. Money men.
The dangers are that this spiral of open privacy will get far worse as time goes on. Just look at the huge race towards location. As if we were all not sharing enough information with the world we now want companies to be able to plot our geographical location to the accuracy of a pin as we travel around doing menial tasks like shopping and drinking with friends and the funny thing is we thank and laud them for providing such an amazing service.
I didn't write this post to scare people or make them re-consider their online presence because I prefer to see all the good it does and how some of it changes the world we live in for the better. What I am saying is forget about online privacy. It doesn't exist. If you want your life to stay private and not appear online then don't use social networks, don't use phones. Actually now that I think of it don't even open a browser. I'm not overly worried by it all (there will be isolated issues) as most companies will do the right thing but just be aware that online privacy is pretty much dead. If it's online it will be found.