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Social Websites Take Control of Your Personal Identity

Posted by GNC at 6:15 AM on May 4, 2009

I have surrendered control of my personal identity to the internet. I was listening to an audio book the other day when the author said, “The internet never forgets.”  Once identityyour information is on the web it is there for good.  Think of the information social websites like MySpace and Facebook has.  You upload your pictures, reveal your emotions in status updates, write notes, comment on other people, etc.  Every friend of yours sees and reads all that information.  They download your photos and re-write your thoughts.  If you blog then portions, if not all, of your site will be held in cache somewhere in the world forever.  The internet never forgets.

The web is like a data miner pulling bits of information from you and then reassembling them through Google.  It makes me wonder how much longer security questions for websites will even work.  I think everyone probably knows my mother’s maiden name by now.  What I am getting at is this: I have surrendered control of my personal identity to the internet.  Or perhaps, the social websites slyly took it away from me.  I thought the social web was helping me connect with other people, but it really was stripping me of control.

As diligent as I am about revealing information about myself on the web, I am afraid that I have lost control of my identity.  Will the day come when we need the equivalent of a DMCA takedown for personal information?  Who really owns the right of displaying that personal information?  The greatest form of identity theft may not be the loss of my bank information but the loss of my ability to control my basic identity.

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