We Know Everything About You!
People write about diets, cancer and give very detailed personal updates
via social media. Subjects you hardly dared to talk about in the past are
now exposed freely online, while more and more of our documents are
registered, documented and saved. What happens on the inside when
integrity is shrinking?
Let us begin by going back in time, lets say about 10-15 years. You have
just been diagnosed with a severe disease, perhaps fatal, maybe even
cancer, the unmentionable disease which for a long time nobody really
talked so much about. And of course, even less, ventilated it with random
strangers you met in town, or at work. But that is exactly what is
happening today. Online cancer blogs are fighting with weight loss,
maternity and paternity blogs over space. And everyone is talking about
Earlier shame-filled subjects are now naked for everyone to see. In a way
it is liberating with all this fresh air around these previously taboo
But this tells us something interesting about the present. What was once
private is apparently no longer so. Is it all good? Or did we lose a
small part of ourselves when we made our last self-disclosure status
update on Facebook?
Our Privacy Limit Has Moved
Research shows that when analyzing what we display on social media you
can see a lot of things that are private and personal. Blogs are typical
examples. Blogs like those revolving around life-projects to stop
smoking, lose weight, or fight against disease. Several decades ago, it
would be completely unthinkable that we shared things like this.
So our privacy limit moves. We are more "human becoming's" rather than
human beings. We change and so does our views of what is essentially
private to talk about, for example, our political position.
For example, more and more young people are willing to talk openly about
But some things we want to still keep to ourselves.
We are still sensitive when it comes to talk about emotions, what we feel
for other people.
Different Levels Of Private
Now you can be online-private, but many also has a deeper private-I, that
you just show your friends. And then a third layer, one more which is
privacy just for yourself, where you process the stuff free from others
pretenses or assessments.
With this mindset, it is obviously not strange that our self-image, our
integrity seems watered down, because it only deals with one external and
already self-censored personal life. It is personal but not private, as
they say. What really concerns you the most, you'll probably not write
It might be good for the self-image that you are fairly transparent with
who you are. For instance, if we look at strong integrity as it is often
perceived as something good. But behavior can also be about a defense
that you are required to put up to avoid being hurt, or for something you
have been hurt for in the past.
High integrity can also be used as leverage.
Someone who does not let other in to close can seem strong. With people
like this, their silence about their private lives can be interpreted as
a - "here, but not any closer", making you feel like only the really
special ones will get closer and you are not included.
I think we will be forced to make more conscious choices to preserve the
level of integrity we still want to have.
Digital imprint is there forever, and we become more and more aware that
what we share stays. But there will also be a higher acceptance that
sometimes we make fools of ourselves.
Is It Ok That We Know?
1. What you look like naked?
Nude cameras are available in several international airports. The purpose
of a body scanner is to reveal if you have explosives. But even silicone
implants or other intimate things can be seen.
2. What kind of ketchup you like?
When you swipe your customer loyalty card it also stores information
about your shopping habits. The store then sends out ad coupons that
match your tastes and hopes to keep you as a loyal customer.
3. How you move around, in your free-time, at home in the city where you
Several optional location-based services, like Facebook Places, interact
with your mobile phone with GPS and let your friends know what
neighborhoods you are in.
4. To which countries you like to travel?
Something like the Data Inspection Board, or similar in several countries
have criticized travel agencies or travel companies for saving
information about its customers' travel destinations unjustifiably long.
5. Who you are talking with on the phone and what is in your email?
In some countries it is legal to listen in to your phone calls or read
6. How you travel?
Smart cards have made it possible for public companies to identify
individuals traveling. Where and how long this information will be saved
is still a controversial issue.
7. What do you like, what are your interests?
Google stores information about what you've searched on, to be able to
present advertisements that may entice you.
8. How do you drive - if no speed cameras are watching you?
In the future there will be cars with a built computer box, that keeps
track. Marketing companies have tested the technology. The idea is that
anyone who install a computer box also may substantially lower the cost
of their insurance since they are expected to drive more safely.