Think about it. With everybody connected all the time, anybody who happens to be nearby can report to the world what we are doing. Or they can go further and send pictures or videos of us for the world to look at. Friends and relatives can relate all kinds of information about us in their tweets and Facebook postings. There doesn’t have to be malicious intent for our privacy to be violated. Relatives may think something is funny that we would just as soon they keep to themselves. Complete strangers can take pictures of us and post them, edited and commented on in any way they like.
In the New York Times Bits blog, Nick Bilton comments on this ability of almost anybody to step into our private space. He begins:
A pulled pork taco hovered about four inches from my mouth when my phone impolitely interrupted me. “Hey, I see you’re having people over. O.K. if I stop by?” read a text message from someone whom I had not invited to my dinner party.
How did the person know I was even having a party? I needed only to glance at my guests, who were sharing messages and photos of the dinner to their online social networks.
Call it the latest episode of “Nothing’s Private Anymore.”
While you’re going about your daily life, stopping to get coffee with a crush, meeting friends for drinks or going to a Madonna concert, people are watching you on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Path and an interminable list of other social networks.
In another New York Times piece, Jenna Wortham writes about the social site Reddit and the posting of “creepshots” in a forum there. People covertly photograph women on the street and upload the images without their consent to the site for others to ogle and comment on.