Sunday, May 21, 2006

A new generation of privacy attitudes

Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle has a very interesting article on attitudes toward privacy held by the "younger generation". You know them: they're more than happy to detail their most personal thougts in blogs and on MySpace but freak out when they think someone from the government might be listening.

The age of privacy / Gen Y not shy sharing online -- but worries about spying

Over the past 12 years, Melissa Gira has cultivated a daily audience of 4,000 strangers, whom she lets watch her most intimate moments on her Web site. They have watched her wake up and recall her dreams, and they have watched her suffer through breakups. In more recent years, some have paid hourly fees to watch her perform "digital sex."

Gira, a.k.a. m. Shakti, was one of the first "Web cam girls" who, using a real-time camera, intentionally exposed the details of her life online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I shared secrets there I wouldn't share with anyone else," Gira said. "Things I said only to therapists, best friends."

Yet when the 28-year-old San Francisco resident learned last week, along with millions of Americans, that the National Security Agency had collected the telephone records of unsuspecting citizens, it crossed Gira's privacy line.

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