Privacy and Anonymity in Public Are Quickly Disappearing

As the New York Times points out in Upending Anonymity, These Days the Web Unmasks Everyone, the days of individuals being able to be in public without being identified and scrutinized in some way or another appear to be numbered:

This erosion of anonymity is a product of pervasive social media services, cheap cellphone cameras, free photo and video Web hosts, and perhaps most important of all, a change in people’s views about what ought to be public and what ought to be private.

Examples of people who were later identified through photos or videos of their public actions range from the heart-tugging Kissing Couple to the arrogant  New York City Metro-North rider to the lawless Vancouver rioters.

Even individuals who seek to be “non-existent” in today’s hyperconnected world are finding it next to impossible.

As privacy law attorney Chris Jay Hoofnagle said, “no matter what you do, you’ll never really know if you’re successful at keeping private, there are all sorts of trails you leave that you’ll never even know about.”

 

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