We all know how times have changed for the better. Instant communications have made it so much easier to keep in touch with our friends and families who have spread themselves all over the globe. Whether it be by mobile phone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter or any number of other internet based social networking tools. I mean, how wonderful is it that you can receive photos of children and grand children seconds after the photo was taken. Or video calling by Skype to make it feel like you are just next door. All wonderful.
So convenient as well. I can now log in to literally hundreds and hundreds of social networking sites by simply using my Facebook or Twitter login. But hold on. Does this mean that hundreds and hundreds of sites know who I am? Or by logging in, I let them have all my details?
The sad fact as I see it, is that once you embark on using social networking services, everything you say, type or post becomes …… data. Collectable, fileable and recorded data in fact.
As an illustration, try posting a single tweet. Within minutes it becomes searchable and naturally findable on Google. Indexed forever. Post a comment on a blog post and your little comment will find a place in the eternal history of the internet archive. Of course you can always delete your post or comment, but it’s too late. It’s already been indexed and recorded.
As an example of how forever things are, I stumbled across a post I made on an internet site in 1996. Another is how often so called deleted emails, Facebook and Twitter entries make it into newspapers and courts of law. Clearly, deleted does not mean gone by any means when used in an internet context.
So where does Big Brother come in? Well, unless you are completely naive, the internet is a dream come true for intelligence agencies, governments, corporations and HR departments. Too easy for them.
So next time you log into a new social networking site that simple wants your Facebook password, don’t forget to say hi to the ‘Big Brother spook’ who is collecting and indexing your personal data.