I have a friend who, for safety reasons, doesn’t want her name to be associated with her location. She pays (pays!) to have her name removed from the phone book, takes steps to ensure that she’s not mentioned on her employer’s website and so on. In short, she doesn’t want anybody to be able to find any details of where she might live or work.
Today, that’s a thorny problem. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where she attends an event, and a friend or acquaintance photographs her. The friend then posts those photos on Flickr, and cites her name and other revealing details. Maybe a friend has a blog, and mentions her full name. It’s not a pre-occupation for my friend, but she does have to be aware of what’s said about her and where.
She exists at the opposite end of the scale to many bloggers. I’m near the other end of the scale, though I rarely discuss personal matters on this site. Of course, if someone wanted to find me to, you know, beat me up, they certainly could. And they’d sure know what I look like (you wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would you?).
Today it’s a thorny problem. For our children, this scenario will be a nightmare. The world’s only gonig to get more and more documented. Flickr and blogs are just the first step to a fully described, recorded and videoed society. Search will probably be much smarter as well. I’ll be able to snap a photo of my friend, and do a search for others photos of her. Or record a snippet of our conversation, and match her voice to other recordings on the web. Controlling who knows what about you is going to get really tricky.