Privacy in a world bereft of privacy, part 6: Good manners

This is really smart. After pointing out that targeted advertising is not the main problem with privacy (a point we've tried to make on this blog before), the author states:

On the other hand, it does seem to me that there is a serious problem about online privacy, and one that is only ever discussed tangentially. The problem that I’m thinking about arises out of the fact that the web is a social space, and yet because of the implicit threat of punishment, one is all but forced to show a false face in this part of one’s social life.
To the extent this issue is discussed at all, the presumption is that those who are punished deserved that punishment, either because their honesty showed them to be a bad person or because their honesty showed them to lack prudence. Which is to say we see a lot of discussion about what you can or should do to protect your reputation online, and no discussion at all of the norms behind our expectations.

I have a kind of utopian view that new social norms will inevitably evolve to cover these new capabilities, but even in the utopian view, this kind of change only occurs in response to very visible disasters, and will take a long time. We've covered this before.

So lets take a look at one of the more concrete concerns that's happening right now: If you are looking for a new job, your potential employer is almost certain to google (or bing or siri) you. If the top result is a picture of you doing a keg stand while wearing a 10-inch pink strap on, you will probably not get the job. (Or, just maybe, you will get your dream job.)

As an employer I have a strong incentive to, as the author would have it, peek through the open window of my potential employee. And I have almost zero blowback for doing so. And until this leads to widespread social unease, that's going to remain true.

So I agree 100 percent with the author's take, but I think it's also very important to be discussing the steps we should take to protect ourselves, and our children, right now, while we wait for society to adjust.

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