When did human beings begin to lose their "privacy"? Some say we have more privacy in 2013 living anonymously in big cities than early human beings had living in tribes, where everyone knew the other guy’s business.
The tribe didn't have Facebook, but it had the village busybody who could be counted on to let everyone know who was on the outs with whom, how much money so and so made and when the baby was due.
The social network in the early 20th century was the party line. If you had a telephone before WWII, you probably shared that line with others. So much for privacy. The society pages in local newspapers were also leaking personal information every time a wedding or funeral was announced. In those days, they published the addresses of the host parents or the bereaved widow.
People are of two minds when it comes to privacy. Fast forward to the 1960s. If you were a college newspaper editor publishing stories about Vietnam War protests, it was a badge of honor if the FBI had a file on you. In this century, people search the Internet to see how many times they’re mentioned, or what is revealed. It doesn’t matter how they’re mentioned – it matters that they see their names, over and over again, as if Google somehow certifies their existence.
Privacy is an odd idea. Reveal nothing and you’re a recluse. Tell all and you’re either a fool or worse, a narcissist who thinks everyone should be fascinated by your particular life stories. This brings us to the 21st century dilemma of defining privacy in a socially connected, techno-centric world. If you’re not a terrorist or a drug smuggler, do you really care if the NSA has your phone number?
You give it away every time you hand someone a business card, add your contact info to an email, or buy something online. And you reveal yourself – often willingly – when your bio is posted next to your latest accomplishment on the Internet.
Here are 10 of the easiest ways you can lose your privacy – willingly. Click here to see our photo story.