Living in the technology-based times that the majority of human beings do, it is safe to say that almost everyone has some sort of digital footprint left behind. I know from my own personal experience, I began using the internet when I was just a little first grader. Under my parents’ name I would search the web (with supervision of course) and added to my mom and dad’s digital foot print, that they probably were not even aware of. The issue of privacy is the real concern for most people. I learned very recently about how real of situation the privacy issue was after learning the true definition of metadata. After reading a few relevant articles, it was made clear that people that I do not know, have access to where I was when I called my mom, which city I was in when I checked my email, and who I texted at 2 a.m. At the moment, I really have nothing to hide, nor do I see myself having anything to hide for the rest of my life.
However, the idea that strangers have this personal information is disconcerting only because I feel this is just the beginning. I’m fully aware the use of this meta data has the soul purpose to use it as analytical information for industries trying to find their best targets for advertising etc. It can also be used for finding potential criminals, which I see as very beneficial and necessary. At the same time, I know that America is a progressive society and that even though now our privacy has not been totally swept from underneath us, I do not see this process being stopped anytime soon. Americans who use the internet need to be educated about the difference between digital media and analog media because often times this is overlooked, but valuable knowledge. Analog media has and still is obviously decreasing in popularity, gradually. For many in my age range, almost 99% of the media we utilize is digital media. After all, our parents used analog media…like the type writer.
Every time you click on anchor text, you are adding to that collection of metadata, which forms this digital footprint. It is linked to a URL that has cookies and other tracking devices that create a PERMANENT memory with your name, time, and place of accessing this information. At the end of the day, we have not lost our control over our privacy entirely. Looking at this from a different perspective, I feel that if I would not want someone seeing something that I search for, the best answer is not to search for it. There are holes in this theory though, considering almost everything is done online and that certain times we are obligated to enter personal information like name, number, address, social security number etc.
One can opt out of giving this information, but that could mean preventing applying for school, a job, or purchasing something necessary. It comes down to the fact that, yes we’re given the option to not enter personal information online, but our lives will not function smoothly unless we do.