Author and biotechnology expert Lori Andrews was a guest on one of my favorite radio shows last week. Her book, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy, discusses many of the same things Eli Pariser does, yet she looks at it through the lens of privacy rights. Although her philosophies are a little sensational and extreme, she touched on two things I found very interesting. First, she discusses how information on the web is moving from the public sphere to the private sphere. Her example was Blueservo. Blueservo is a web service where normal citizens can become virtual deputies, and watch webcams of the Texas-Mexico border. If they see illegal immigrants crossing the border, they can report it to the authorities. Andrews says that this act of public work (policing) being done by private citizens will just expand to many more areas such as neighborhood watches.
The second thing that Andrews discusses is how eventually we will lose so much trust in the internet that we will stop using the great things the web does. Everything from credit card companies, employers, schools, and the government now have to ability to make decisions on our lives based on what we do on the internet. If this trend continues to get more invasive, then a point will eventually come that the scale will be tipped and we’ll stop using the web for great things such as crowd funding and medical diagnoses and support. Where do you think this point is?