Addendum to lost in a crowd.

Posted on 08/12/2011

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The advantage of being lost in a crowd is anonymity. My last post explored the level of privacy that we’ve lost over the past 20 years, and how (for good or bad) we can no longer hide within a crowd.

Companies and governments are recording more information about us, and a lot of us aren’t fully aware of how much data we’re giving away. However, this isn’t the full picture.

A recent MTV study of Generation Y (15-28) found that this demographic are acutely aware of their online presence. We (I also fall into this group) have some idea of how available our information is. In fact, we’re using this to our advantage. Millennials (aka Generation Y) are consciously building and curating their online reputation to improve their personal image.

If anything this suggests where things are going. We will trade our information for an improved social status and free stuff. EU law is tightening, restricting companies from storing behavioural information without consent, and now Google will even leg you choose what kind of advertisements you receive.

We need to be clearer about the trade-off between personal information and online services we use every day for free. We’re already doing this through loyalty schemes like the Tesco Clubcard and the Nectar Card. Somewhere we have to draw the line. The question is: what’s private for you?

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