Now add in smartphones and apps such as Path, Twitter and Foursquare, as well as web-based companies such as Facebook and Google which rely on serving ads, and data-crunching like that done by Target (and all the big supermarkets) and the idea of “privacy” is being eroded from inside and outside. Your address book is somewhere in the “cloud”. You’re telling anyone who has access to your Facebook profile where you were. Foursquare users can track your whereabouts, if you “check in”. The supermarket where you shop is sending you coupons for nappies.
A graphical representation of how much public data Facebook used to show in 2005 compared to 2010 looks just like scary forecasts of polar ice cap melt. Except it’s already happening. In fact, online privacy looks altogether like global warming: we tut about it and mutter “something must be done”, and then do the equivalent of clambering into 4x4s – tagging photos on Facebook of friends getting drunk, tweeting pictures of our lovely trip and family on Instagram.