In the future you are going to care less, a whole lot less, about the information you know about other people. Imagine 20 years from now searching through all my Twitter, Facebook, email and chat conversations. You may dig up some hilarious dirt, inappropriate comments, and hypocritical statements I have made. In fact, you could likely do that right now. The difference is that when the public record on all of us becomes so long this becomes true for everyone.
You’re in a glass house…and so is everyone else
What everyone should be more concerned about isn’t protecting ourselves from free personal expression. What everyone should be more concerned about is the amount of information we allow institutions to collect and leverage against us. These institutions can take many shapes but the banks are a good example.
Recently it has become glaringly aware that banks are not infallible. They store massive amounts of information on us and do so because we allow them. Take, for example, credit card fraud. We all know it is rampant and we all sleep well at night because we are insured. That insurance is actually buying freedom from accountability for the banks. They routinely cover criminal enterprises by telling consumers they are ‘covered’ so that they can resume business as usual without involving the legal process. What is unfortunately covered up is the amount of information that they have allowed into the public. Sure I lost my social insurance number but I didn’t have to pay for those Ray Bans the thieves bought on eBay.
Just to summarize: we need to stop worrying about pictures on Facebook of coworkers binge drinking or *gasp* using ‘swears’ and start worrying about what the institutions that we allow to drive us to the precipice of financial collapse are doing with the information they are allowed to use.