"Big brother is watching you!" is probably one of the most recognizable quotes from books in the world. And it is coming from, as now thought, George Orwell’s prophetic novel "1984". Using this quote in a modern day time is pretty regular, trying to emphasize, that although we think we have our privacy, actually someone above us, sees and knows everything we are doing behind the curtains. This way of thinking certainly has it’s logics, especially, after former CIA agent, Edward Snowden, revealed that the NSA was tracking private information of USA citizens. But, as we become more and more wired to social networks, there appears the questions; does actually someone need to track us anymore? Aren't we already (and sufficiently) exposing ourselves?
The use of technology, including use of computers and internet, is an unavoidable part of everyday life in 21st century. Of course a lot of people use it, extremely for educational and work purposes, and that’s totally fine. But the problem, which brings out many other consequences, comes with the entertaining part of the technology. The appearance of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedln, etc. certainly gave us an option to stay in contact with people that we might not see every day. But let’s ask ourselves, how much did it take from us? That those networks are essential part of modern day world is beyond dispute, as every 4th person in the world, according to statistics, has a FB profile.
Fascinating, right? Ok, having this information at our hands, let’s catch on some facts, that are perhaps not that unexpected, but for sure are more worrying, and that should warn us. First and foremost, let’s begin with the one that is pretty obvious; people, mostly young ones, simply cannot imagine the day without chatting online with their friends. One of the main consequences that this has already brought us, is that, people are not interested in taking part in any real social activity or going out anymore. Even if they actually go out to have a drink with friends, their time will pass looking at their phones, and probably even chatting online, while sitting right next to each other. This can also greatly affect health. But the main thing that should be worrying us, and making us think, is about our privacy.
So we know that on social networks, along with chat function, we have tons of other functions to waste our time with. You can be a part of a group, or like a page that you share similar interest or opinion with, you could play some games as well, or you could simply post how you are feeling at that time. There are many security options and settings, of course, if we want to forbid someone to see what we are doing. It all seems so safe. The problem is that people abuse it, often doing direct harm to themselves. You see, now many want to become a social network star. Posting pictures from amazing places, regularly checking in where we are at, every hour of our day, posting our private plans for the future and so on, just in order to get some kind of attention, which is unfortunately imaginary.
So in all that search for virtual friends and happiness, which in fact does not exist, we find ourselves exposed by ourselves. Of course, the social network authors have their fingers implicated in this as well, by allowing us tons of features. But it is our fault that we are giving in. This can often lead to more terrible consequences of course, than simply giving our information to basically obsolete strangers, and of course adding it up in the computers of intelligence agencies. There are more and more mentally ill persons, like pedophiles or maniacs, who just seek their opportunity to literally strike. And by giving them our location, we make their mission probably much more easier than ever. A great increase has been detected in the crimes, directly connected to exposure on social networks. Of course, our life opportunities could be ruined as well, just by one posted photo by mistake, which could then leak the internet.
Then, of course, your activities on social networks can be used against you, for example on a court; if you commit even a slightest violation, everything that you posted could possibly be used against you. There are also companies, like life insurance ones. To some, this might seem like a hokum, but imagine that you are answering a questionnaire while subscribing to a health insurance. So you are asked about your risk factors, and you select that you are a non-smoker. And suddenly, one photo, with you having one cigarette, after a few drinks, appears on your profile. The company could probably have the right to use this against you, and make your insurance void.
Just think about the consequences a bit, when you are posting some picture, revealing your feelings or checking in your location next time. If you choose to attract attention in the expense of revealing your privacy, and if that proves like a fatal mistake, don’t blame anyone, including the “Big Brother”, but yourself. Don’t submit anyone, be they institutions or individuals, your privacy and thus ruin your safety with your own hands.