Foil Hat Alert!!!

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I’m always up for listening to a good conspiracy story; David Icke‘s lizard wonderland, Roswell, JFK, they’re all good ‘shady-wink-complicated-handshake-knowing-nod’ fodder. But some are a little more rational than others, and a little bit closer to home.

We saw this earlier today – FaceBook is the latest in a long line of ‘digital conspiracy’ targets and Commongroundcommonsense has produced a pretty exhaustive investigation in to the connections between the site, a group of shadowy benefactors and the US government. Questions are asked about the security of the site, access to the information and the future use of that information.

This is nothing new – last year, AOL opened it’s vaults and published details of over 650,000 US search terms, while  Google has come under cynical fire in the past for warehousing personal information via Google DeskTop. This knee-jerk reaction is nothing new and as long as we are offered increasingly prevalent online services like internet banking, consumers will be torn between the desire for convenience and and the fear of poor security (it’s something Edelman has quite a bit of experience with through our client Get Safe Online [GSOL])

But the social networking phenomenon brings a slightly expanded issue – notions of security no longer just concern the financially critical information in our daily lives; they involve tastes and beliefs and desires, the declaration of intricate personal detail, available to the increasingly opinionated masses. 

The social implications of Web 2.0 and its burgeoning role within cultural constructs are a constant discussion round our way.  Social networks are encouraging the ‘narcissistic voyuer’ to impart as much of themselves as possible to anyone who cares to look, but little consideration is given to that information once posted. Base motivation for many comes from having the most friends, membership to the most groups and social validation from as many varied groups and individuals as possible. It may seem fairly innocuous when you add it but the volume of information posted gives rich pickings to anyone who wants it, to the point that the public domain has been amplified to an incredible level. The promotion of personal information encourages the attention, but are we declaring too much? And once declared, are we offering ourselves to be used by the highest paying customer?

You tell me.

Check out the video after the jump….

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