Privacy -- Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

My mother never had a credit card. Thought it outrageous that cable could charge for TV. I'll wager that very few people other than the Social Security Administration had a line on her personal information. The next generation doesn't have the same kind of privacy. Future employers can check them out on Facebook, MySpace and yes, through emails and IMs they wrote even in their unguarded moments. This begs the question how digital do you want to be? How transparent can you afford to be? The Foley page scandal in Washington proves again that anyone who thinks he or she can keep their digital communications private and protected would be wrong. Even IMs can be retrieved. The IMs that indicted Congressman Foley for making inappropriate advances to teenage Congressional pages came via AOL software. Laying your life out in public day after day may not drive you back to telephones and snail mail, but the many repercussions of such openness may make you want to reorder your priorities. Any electronic, digital communication must be benign and sound benign. Big brother can track where you surf the web. Maybe the web should be for harmless communication and never for anything that you might not say in front of 100 people. We're entering an age when the fabulous developments on the Internet should give us pause to ask -- are we using the Internet or is the Internet using us.