Think You’ve Got Nothing to Hide? Are You Nuts?

Show me someone who says “I have nothing to hide” and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t really pondered the subject.

Forget deep dirty secrets, even people with lily-white pasts have information they don’t want public. It may be your weight, finances, relationship to your mother/sister/brother/ex, medical conditions, something you handled poorly, or the mean thoughts you had in the middle of the night. It could be where you’re shopping or what you’re buying (do you really want a gift recipient to know what you paid?).

Even those at the extreme end on the [over]sharing scale only want to make public an edited version of their life. A nanosecond’s reflection should start you creating your own list of not-for-public information.

A host of internet startups – and existing services rolling out new features – are literally banking on you to over-share information as you fail to realize the full ramifications of doing so. They want your exact location (Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter), where you’re going (Dopplr), what you bought (Blippy), what you do, eat or think every moment of the day (Facebook, Twitter), how you’re feeling and looking (DailyBooth), even how much time you did (or didn’t do) in your cardio workout (Skimble).

Those wanting to make a buck off your information say that people no longer care about their privacy; we live in the reality TV era where exposing all our information is the new norm. Really?

Have you met someone who truly wants every aspect of their lives exposed to the public or monetized?  I haven’t, and I’ve been asking internet users this question for years – particularly the teens and twentysomethings who supposedly don’t care. There isn’t a teen or twentysomething alive who wants every aspect of their life exposed to the world (and specifically not to their family members).

Take a lesson from the people behind the biggest information sharing services

Have you noticed that those espousing the new ‘expose-all norm’ take pains to protect their own information and privacy? If these guys aren’t willing to put their own information where their mouth is, it’s time to consider why.

Perhaps the guiding privacy principle should be “always share less about your private life than Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin”.

Linda

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