There’s been alot of press this week about the iPhone “tracker” file. Sure, if you didn’t know about it, you might be tempted to think of it in terms of an invasion of privacy. But since it’s right there in the Terms of Service, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. If you’re spending alot of time in places where you’d rather not be seen, I’ve got bad news for you… there are already cameras everywhere and your cute mid-twentieth century notion of “privacy” is quaint. How much of your information have you willing posted on Flickr, WordPress, or Facebook? More than you’d think… and generally done with a time and location stamp built right there into the electrons.
Sure, you can keep some things private if you try hard enough. Stop using social media, or really just stop using the internet all together. Hand over your GPS and your cell phone. Cut up your credit cards and your ATM card – although you’ll find it hard to withdraw money from the bank without showing up at a branch and getting yourself on film. Stop going to public places – Big Brother loves watching crowds at places like airports, city centers, and shopping malls. Turn off your TV and maybe even your car with the fancy OnStar system.
The internet is alight with people decrying companies that are trying to “steal” our private information… but they’re not trying to steal anything. We sold it to them bit by bit. We did it for convenience. And maybe some of us did it without even knowing. That’s the price we pay for living in our brave new world. If you think we can roll it back now, you’re deluded – always-on, technology that’s fully integrated into our lives has seen to that. The best any of us can do is embrace the public nature of our private lives, learn the new rules, and make sure that we are the best advocate for our online selves.