The End of Privacy, Part Two

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY In an earlier post, I wrote about how privacy will soon be something we remember, and not something we can actually have.

Mike at The Academic Naturist has taken the argument a step further with his post Technology Against Privacy.

From Google Earth, to miniature cameras, to the Polar Rose face recognition technology, there is no longer any reasonable expectation for anyone to truly protect personal privacy.

The bottom line is that if you are a nudist/naturist, and have a nude photo of yourself posted on the Internet, eventually you will be identified.

Technology is only going to get better. Cameras will keep getting smaller, with higher image quality. Satellite imagery can already read license plates, and soon will be able to identify faces. GPS systems allow you to know exactly where you are on the planet, and will someday let anyone else know the same. Cell phone cameras are being used to transmit nude photos all around the world. Imaging machines at airports are able to take highly-detailed pictures of a human body right through any clothing. And the government is listening to your phone calls and reading your e-mails.

Everyone is an open book. From my point of view, I do not see any way to stop the destruction of privacy, it's as inevitable as the dawn, and with this seismic shift will come a new paradigm - a society without secrets. There will be no lifestyle, no financial situation, and no physical attribute that will not be readily available knowledge for all to discover. People will be stripped naked in every meaning of the word.

Mike believes that we can prepare ourselves for this erosion of privacy, but I disagree. I don't believe that there's anything we can do.

The telltale signs have been there for a while. Radio, television, and then the Internet have allowed the world to get smaller in terms of access to information. President Cleveland once was able to have cancer surgery on a boat in New York harbor and keep it a secret from the public, and President Wilson had a stroke in 1919 and the public was kept completely in the dark. As late as the early 1960s, people were able to maintain privacy when it came to sexual orientation, women were able to hide their pregnancies, and people with cancer or other serious diseases didn't talk about their afflictions, and often went to the grave with nobody knowing the cause of death.

In a few short decades, people now freely talk about their sexuality, and share stories about their pregnancies and diseases. Betty Ford told the world about her breast cancer, and her alcoholism. Katie Couric had a colonoscopy on live television. Celebrities are photographed crossing the street with their children, and Presidential candidates are dissected to such a degree that every person they have encountered in life becomes an issue of character. If someone somewhere says something, it's on YouTube in a day or less.

The trickle has become a tsunami. There is nothing we can say or do, and no place that we can go, where privacy can be reasonably maintained. The upside is that people will be forced to be more honest and open, but the significant downside is the loss of true freedom. Enjoy it while you can.

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