Reading about the Dark Web was interesting, but the WIRED article on personal data collection was enlightening on an entirely different level.
Of course we all know that at this point Google knows more about us than our own mothers, but learning the how, what, and why of all that data collection was very interesting. First, it was nice to be reminded that this activity is not inherently nefarious. Humans spend more and more time on the internet, and collecting information about that time in a perfectly public sphere is useful. However, the potential for misuse and abuse is so incredible that it’s frightening to read about how little regulation there is.
The internet has been part of daily life for most Americans for almost thirty years. It was a shame to read about seemingly progressive court rulings on privacy that were ignored and stepped over just a few years later. I do believe that we are still in the “growing pains” age of the internet. Maybe we always will be, because it grows and changes so quickly. But, I believe that sooner or later we will have to have a reckoning with the effects of this unmitigated invasion of every intimate part of our lives.
Since we live on the internet, we will have to decide what information is too personal. Where’s the line between what can be considered in a background check and what is hidden behind “closed doors”? What can and can’t be brought up in court? By using services like Google or Instagram, are you inherently throwing all rights to your own information away in exchange for site access? The pervasiveness of the internet demands that we not rely on goodwill, but on hard and fast rules on what can and can’t be bought and sold. We will have to decide over time where the line is.