I have been thinking that privacy is no longer about being so extreme and trying to avoid digital footprints. Perhaps it is about co-existing with digital footprints and a certain amount of intrusion in order to create a lifestyle which actually leads to freedom. The reality is, technology is not going anywhere and the walls of how we access and communicate are only going to become thinner. Good thing, bad thing, who really knows but no matter what most of us will indulge.
The question is how does one co-exist with digital footprints? Do we just walk blindly into the night? Do we throw up our hands and say come take our information? No, definitely not. Like other situations in life we choose our battles. Choosing such battles takes personal responsibility and a conscientious act of deciding which technologies are a positive. One needs to determine if the sacrifice of personal information is worth the service being provided.
Think about the value of information from this point of view. You go to the corner store to purchase milk. The counter person offers the milk free in exchange for access to your mobile phone and email contacts. How many times have you been asked this when downloading an app? To some the milk exchange is absurd but to others, it is fair. It comes down to how you place a value on information, both your and others. Meaning, let’s say you turn down the milk offer but an hour later a friend of yours goes to the same store to buy a package of Ring Dings. The counter person makes the friend the same offer unlike you, the friend agrees to the exchange.
Begin to think about the value of your information and think about those you are connected with and how they are protecting your information. You could be fighting a battle of information that has already been surrendered by a friend, family or business associate. Perhaps co-existing is realizing that surrendering select information is inevitable and at times out of your control. This acceptance allows you to move forward and focus on real issues.
Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Art of Disappearing: 199 Essential Privacy and Disappearing Tips