Privacy in a flat world?

I found this realy cool infographic about privacy on the Internet.  I left out the bottom part because of the irrelevance to my message, but if you want you can see the full version here.

Off course it’s only a representation of a few social media items in the flat world.  But if gives a good idea on who’s seeing wath information.  If you would search for a definition on privacy you would end up with this:

1. the condition of being private or withdrawn; seclusion
2. the condition of being secret; secrecy
(Collins Engish Dictonary)

In a real world situation this a easy, you open your door and close it. What happens in your homen stays in your home. (And as the saying goes: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas). BUT what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet, facebook, netlog, Flickr, iGoogle, …. Every time you go in to the flat world you leave a trace (and not only through your IP-adress), but apparently we are fond on leaving our name, mail and more everywhere.

Did you google your name or e-mailadress? This only gives an idea of the information available. You have your personal facebook or other social network profile, with pictures, status-updates, … BUT did you check your privacy settings?

In the next 2 pictures you see how Facebook has shifted his privacy setting over the past 5 years. (The ful version can be found here. – I’m only showing 2 slides, but youcan follow the entire evolution on this website.)


I know it looks frightening, but don’t go over to Facebook and delete your profile…at least I didn’t! But let this be the start for you to rethink your privacy in the flat world. Even at home  you need to close the door to keep your privacy, maintain the same precausion when you’re in flat world.  Start by checking your privacy settings at your social media websites (Facebook, ….), but don’t be afraid to work on the flat world, make sure you have a secure line (httpS:// for example) will keep your data private!

On the other side, there is off course the huge data centers that are building up behing all those social media and other (commercial) website where you register or leave your data. These data will be used for data mining, and maybe sold (but then again this only is possible with your permission….Oh I forgot you gave it, when checking the litte box: “I agree”).

If you want to read more on privacy in the flat world, I invite you to participate in the Flat Education. In the intensify section, there is a page (presently under construction) which deals with privacy in the flat world.

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Posted in Flat Education, Flat Lifestyle
8 comments on “Privacy in a flat world?
  1. Reinhard says:

    Surfing on the internet is surfing in a public area because computer leaves their mark on servers and websites. Everybody knows that there is no privacy in the world wide web. And talking about internet privacy is talking about internet security and security in general. We always say that security is very important and we would never put a wallet on a restaurant table in a crowded place and leave for the restroom! And we would not jump from a bridge without a bungee rope.

    Everybody has to learn some “instructions for use” in life. And using the internet is a part of our life and like using any other appliance. Being online can be much fun and very helpful. But there should always be the possibility to find the button to switch it off. And then privacy comes back!

  2. verena says:

    It’s funny. Using the internet you feel anonymous, save and unseen since you mostly working in your own room, in a familiar surrounding . On the other hand you are opening your house to the world and by each click you leave marks which will be remembered. Talking about privacy and the web is a contradiction.

  3. Wolfgang says:

    The point is that people feel anonymus in the internet, because they are most time surfing in their small room or office, getting in contact with the whole wide world. Fact is that uploading pictures, getting registered on websites or leaving commtents in blogs like this, can somehow be used against you in the future life.Nowadays as a rule, applicant for a job are googled by the boss.

  4. Mathilde says:

    I’ve found an interesting arcticle about the data security on facebook. They made a test how secure the personal data is. It was on BBC News, published on the 29th of july 2010:

    You can read it on

    It says that a mass of private data was published in the internet, without the permission of the facebook useres. Facebook demented that and said that the data was already public. Facebook had to change the privacy settings, because it’s too complicated and confusing.

  5. Marc says:

    Of course there are a lot of features, that are “watching us” to find out, what we want. But this is not bad. Especially for us marketing students are these information helpful to understand and manipulate the unknown “O” in the SOR model 😉

  6. Anina says:

    Sure, there is not really privacy on the internet. Even if u switch your account in a very private one, nearly every IT specialist, can find your datas. This is often used by big companies which have people who are really making deep searches for the aplicants for a new job. But hey, if you r a little bit aware that especially in communities your information is not really safe and you use it with this in mind, you shouldn’t be to worried. We love to stress around and be afraid of everything which we can’t controll.

  7. Julia says:

    I think everybody should decide on his or her own what private data he/she wants to publish into the internet. Nowadays it’s very easy for people to find information about others they don’t know. In my opinion that can be very dangerous, especially f.e. with applications where your future boss can find your pictures where you were drunk.

  8. Josef says:

    Once I have the decision taken to put personal information into the web, to me, it does not longer exist present PRIVACY.

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