We destroy our privacy when we become identity obese by excessively disclosing our personal information with others which increases our publicness and risk of identity fraud. Unlike quick weight loss, identity obesity cannot be reversed overnight and may even be irreversible in some cases. Because some businesses collect more personal information from their customers than they need in order to complete a business transaction, and fail to properly protect the information, it becomes easy for consumers to blame businesses for their lack of privacy, however, individuals are not completely free from blame. By exploring many available choices in the marketplace whether it is a new doctor, credit card, or mortgage program, and excessively participating in the new socialization norm, we give away our privacy as individuals and then forcefully claim our privacy back but it’s often too late when we realize the problem. We will shortly analyze how we destroy our privacy by defining publicness and identity obesity but the answer to why we treat our privacy carelessly when it’s so important to us, we have to understand the human psychology that nothing is important until it impacts us. Businesses and individuals alike will not take the time to prevent disasters from occurring for cost or any other reason until disaster arrives. Or, they excessively engage in activities which eventually lead to disasters for the mere pleasure of the moment like drinking alcohol, smoking, and socializing. Now, let’s talk about how we engage in activities that compromise our privacy.
First, if we are identity obese, it means that we have shared our personal information with more people and companies than it is necessary to function in the society. For example, people constantly change doctors, refinance their homes, and open new accounts which forces them to share very private information with more people. Every time we share more personal information with more entities, we lose a little more of our privacy.
Second, if we are identity obese, we most likely have social media obsession and post frequent updates about our life such as where we are, what we’re doing, what we’re thinking or feeling, who we’re with, and the list goes on. The problem is that some people even share information about others without their authorization which causes problems for others and themselves. How many times did your friends post pictures of you on Facebook without asking you first? Or, how many times have you posted pictures of others without asking them first? Some pictures are very revealing and broadcast the world about your whereabouts and state of being.
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words and when we post thousands of pictures for our friends and their friends to see, strangers start to learn about our habits, our taste in a variety of things, and our whereabouts. On the subject of pictures, today’s face recognition technologies can actually match a person’s face to pictures posted on the Internet to extract information about the person such as name, address, email, and phone number. So, instead of posting your picture on the Net, hide your face when you see strangers taking pictures of you in public because they might be using a face recognition technology to track you down.
Believe or not, we destroy our privacy ourselves and may be our own worst enemy when it comes to unnecessarily disclosing our personal information which can be used against us one way or another.