Internetactu published an interesting article over privacy seen differently depending on one’s age (the title could approximately be translated by “Privatelife, the young schmuck point of view”). Following is a mix of this article with Elizabeth Denham’ speech Right, Responsibilities, Trust: Archives and Public Affairs.
In 2000, Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, announced “Privacy is dead -Get over it!” Ten years later, it seems that the worlwideweb community still can’t.
Privacy remains a powerful value and private life protection have even become national issue. See the french declaration of fundamental digital rights – english version at the bottom- still to be approved. And yet, there is an important part of cultural value in privacy interpretation.
“In Japan, for instance, where personal space is at a premium, people have objected to the on-line mapping application, Google Street View, on the grounds that it is considered impolite and intrusive to look at into the front gardens of Japanese homes. Google has agreed to rephotograph cities in the country, raising the height of cameras to provide privacy.” Denham reports.
Cultural context is predominant and so is the age. According to Montreal humour columnist Josh Freed, it’s the yawning gap in outlooks between “Generation Parent” and “Generation Transparent.” One tries to protect his lifeprivacy, almost obsessively when the second one is not quite sure what “private-life” stands for. A new reality show on record 24/7, maybe ?
One may indeed think that young people lost any notion of private life by blogging any information and picture of themselves over the net but teenagers seem to interact with no inhibitions on the web and on cellphones too. Ever heard of this new trend called “Sexting” when you send a message with sexually suggestive content or nude image on a mobile phone. 15% of 12-17 US teenagers with cellular phones have received one. It’s much higher for the 17 years old with 30%.
So shocking ?
“Generation Transparent have lived their whole lives on stage, ever since their first blurry images were captured by a “womb-cam” at eight weeks gestation. They’re apt to wonder whether life is really happening if no one is watching. Generation Parent, by contrast, grew up in the shadow of McCarthyism [for the US only, what about us ? Gestapo?] Nixon wire-tappers and espionage, leaving many afraid to bank online or buy a book on Amazon.com. They’d certainly never post their personal diaries or family snapshots online.”
The question the two authors then rise is : aren’t these teenagers just using their individual liberties, the one their parents fought for, and extending these liberties onto new-techs ?
Indeed, how come one can go around with tiny and suggestive clothes, behaving sexually suggestively in the street (it’s all in the suggestion thing) but when it comes to publishing these scenes on the web or sending them on cellphones it turns out to be scandalous ?
Maybe we are discovering what a parent of a 1950’s rocker was confronted to. We are facing new-age rock ‘n roll behaviors, a teen culture based on freedom of speech, of acting…Except it’s all digital. Moto is: Peace and love and blog’n roll ?