Column: Privacy lessons learned from Paris

Column: Privacy lessons learned from Paris

By Julia Gall

In the age of MySpace, away messages and Google, it’s hard to keep private information to yourself. Technology allows anyone to have instant access to your life. If you choose to put yourself out there. This goes back to the old-fashioned idea of public decency, which keeps you from offending others or embarrassing yourself by leaving too much out in the open. While it may seem unfair for people to be judged or ridiculed about private matters, sometimes these situations can easily be prevented.

The most hilarious example of exploiting privacy is the recently developed website,; a paid membership site that “exposes” personal videos, diary entries, etc. from the socialite which were released after she neglected to pay a $208 storage fee, according to the website.

Honestly, it’s not like Hilton needs to ask for attention, and putting herself into a position like this seems disgustingly annoying. She obviously could have paid the fee and prevented this from occurring.

I find this similar to the recently infamous Britney Spears photos. Those could be a lesson to us all: if you think the paparazzi might be around, slap on a pair of cautionary panties, just in case.

Even outside society’s obsession with celebrities, I think the need to know other people’s business is becoming universal, perhaps because of the fast spread of information through technology.

While that can be useful for many things, it’s also now easier than ever to make information about your life accessible. Whether it is unintentional, like cell phone conversations that are a bit too loud, or intentional like detailed away messages revealing your day’s itinerary.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the life struggles of strangers through one end of their conversations (“Baby, she added me on MySpace, don’t be so mad!”) or have seen someone write out every exact place they will be and what they will be doing on their away message on AIM (who cares, really?). Though these things may be small, it’s the perfect example of people putting themselves out in the open, for anyone to find out.

The part that bothers me most is people are still offended or creeped out when their “privacy” is opened to the public. It’s no one’s fault but their own.

If you discuss your sex life publicly like Samantha Jones of “Sex and the City,” don’t be surprised if people form a negative opinion about you. Or worse, if you are caught in the act by your roommate while on the living room couch, don’t get mad if she tells all your friends. You asked for it.

This also goes for the Northeastern Crime Log. My opinion may be slightly biased, but if everyone knows that the “18-year-old female found intoxicated in a Speare Hall bathroom stall, Monday night around 7 p.m.” is you, maybe you should have kept it together.

Understand before putting up drunken Facebook photos that almost anyone could see them, because you are allowing it to happen. As long as you’re aware of what you’re allowing other people to know about your life, you could end up with a tad more class than our favorite Hilton. Now, that’s hot.

– Julia Gall can be reached at [email protected]

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