It was almost quaint: Google’s recent apology for privacy violations. Granted, it came in the face of a lawsuit where the company got its hand slapped for “data-scooping,” a wonderful phrase that could be the slogan of our current lives. Google was found to have crossed the line with its Street View Project, where in addition to photographing houses and buildings along the world’s streets and avenues, the Googilians scooped up all manner of personal information from zillions of unencrypted wireless networks.
Really? I’m shocked. Not. Who doesn’t data scoop is my question?
I look at a bathing suit on line. For the next few weeks, whenever I open my laptop it pops right up. It’s like I am being stalked by a bathing suit. I vow to never ever succumb again to online shopping, a resolve that crumbles faster than my New Year’s resolutions.
Every day I am online giving away — not just bits of information but bytes of my soul, or at least that’s the way it feels. Obviously the social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, et al, are the most glaring examples. We can complain about Google and about the predatory identity thieves out there who hack into our so-called private information. But the truth is we are the saboteurs of our own privacy.
We have signed on for this ride. We have put ourselves out there to an astonishing degree. I do some of this myself: I blog therefore I am. People post back: lovely things, nasty things. I don’t know these people. Why do I care?
I see in myself what I see in others, a turn towards the spotlight — or the cyberlight, if you will. A willingness to live a large part of life in public, to give away part of myself, to spill my guts, my sorrows — over losing a mother, for example, as I did not so long ago — in a cheap and easy way.