June 18, 2013 | 11:51 AM (BD Time)
18 June, 2013 Tuesday
Hartal progressing peacefully in CHT ; Khaleda, Ershad both in Singapore ; 18-party to stage demo countrywide on June 22 ; Atiqul Haque Chowdhury passes away
Should we care what we share?
We are now given more opportunities to share ourselves than ever before. We can tell Foursquare where we are, we can tell Twitter what we are doing. On Facebook, we can tell everyone a relationship is on the rocks, or share pictures of embarrassing nights out. But sharing also means we can work together, support each other, meet new people and gain new interests. So when it comes down to whether we should be a share-alot or share-not, it really depends on who you ask. For Jeff Jarvis, highly-regarded blogger, author and commentator on the notion of "publicness", the issue of keeping private online is simple. "When you're faced with a Twitter box in front of you, you can choose to put something in it, or not." He argues that in a world of tweets, status updates, blogs, YouTube clips and dating accounts it is, ultimately, a personal choice. Yet as technology rapidly evolves into more sophisticated methods of knowing where we are and what we're up to, not everybody is keen to embrace Mr Jarvis' spirit. Among them is Andrew Keen, author of Digital Vertigo: An Anti-Social Manifesto. "If we become seduced by this idea of publicness. That is a bad thing for us as human beings." Mr Keen and Mr Jarvis debated the merits of our online social lives with Jeff on a special privacy edition of Click on the BBC World Service. Mr Keen's worry is that in future we may lose the ability to remain private in the same way previous generations have done so. He argued that rather than tweet away the minutiae of daily life, citizens of the world actually need protecting from social media and the relentless encouragement to share where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing. "I think what we should understand is the role of the internet not as an evil technology, but as a thing that none of us really control, and has its own momentum. "As the internet is revolutionised - it's not just Facebook, it's Zynga, it's GroupOn, it's LivingSocial. "It's this eruption of new social products, services, platforms. It means that the generation to come I don't think will have the choice that Jeff has the luxury to make." Mr Jarvis' approach has been markedly different. "I told the entire world that my penis doesn't work," he said, reflecting on his decision to blog about being diagnosed with prostate cancer back in August 2009. "I got incredible benefit out of that. I got friends giving me advice. I inspired other men to get their PSA checked. Good things came." Yet while many would much rather keep their battle with cancer a strictly private affair, Mr Jarvis pointed out that it was entirely his decision to share his experiences with the world. "No-one was forcing me out of the prostate closet. In the analysis that I made personally about whether or not I should keep this to myself or share this, I saw more benefit in sharing." This is all well and good, Mr Keen argued, but letting the world in on traditionally personal areas is often not about what you can get out of it, but rather how it makes you feel - and not everyone can handle public intrusion to the same level. "I think we need to remind ourselves of the value of feelings, which can't be quantified, and which are essential to the self." Around the world, privacy worries are high on the political agenda. In March, Viviane Reding, vice-president of the EU, outlined ideas for the reform of data protection laws. She argued for "four pillars" of privacy, including the "right to be forgotten", and "privacy by default". Mr Jarvis worries about their implementation. "That has a huge impact on the development of the possibilities of the internet. "To govern around fear is difficult in an internet age that's all about possibilities." He adds that we should not strangle new technologies because of an obvious threat, insisting that while we should be wary of dangers, banning technology outright leaves us worse off in the long run. "It is possible now to use facial recognition. And that bothers some people. "But imagine how you could use that kind of technology in Japan today to find people who are missing or not missing." Mr Keen says he is not against the enhancement of technology, and that proposed data privacy laws do not seek to ban technologies. "I do think it's important for us to understand what we are sliding into," he said. "The internet is becoming ubiquitous. Even the word 'internet' is losing any meaning. "In the past, and when we talk about the past we're talking about the rest of human history, we've been able to escape the gaze of our neighbour, the gaze of our parents, our wives, our children. "But the world that we are falling into is one where we won't be able to escape the gaze."
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