Are we too afraid?

I Think I’m Being Watched

Taken a few years ago at Chiswick Park station

I ran across an article from PC Advisor’s Ashleigh Allsopp (@AshleighAllsopp) this morning on how you can permanently delete your Facebook account.

Though there was mention that one may want to delete their account because of distractions, the focus appeared to me to be helping those who wanted to delete their Facebook permanently because of privacy concerns.

My response in commenting on Twitter was then to delete your social security number, address, driver’s license, and other records anyone has on you.

Business consultant and author, Euan Semple (@euan), upon reading Cory Doctorow’s piece on the privacy concerns of teenagers and the savvy ways the’re learning to maintain their privacy on the internet, wrote this today:

At risk of appearing naive, what are we all so afraid of? Who are we afraid of? Future employers, the government, sexual predators? What sort of world will we end up with if we stay afraid? Isn’t it better to be brave and say what we think, open up to connections, and face up to the challenges that doing so represents? If our institutions are broken we need to fix them rather than hide from them. If we don’t trust corporations we should regulate their activities – or stop using their products. Is hiding really the answer?

I’m close to Euan on this one, though as an American as opposed to Scottish as Euan is, I do have some reservation as to what gets handed over to the government.

If someone in the government reaches the incorrect conclusion about whether your conduct was criminal and subpoenas a social network for your records and the network turns them over, you have a problem.

I can buy insurance to cover the costs of defense for a half witted law suit, but I don’t believe I have insurance to cover the defense of a US Attorney’s prosecution. Let alone my name being sullied.

Setting that one aside I err on the side of being open and, time permitting, using all of those networks being used by people I’d like to get to know better and to learn from.

I’ll acknowledge I don’t trust the government or the corporations. No one has ever shown me reason to do so. I am also not as optimistic as Euan about regulating their activity – money buys political influence in the States.

Having said all that, I am totally with Eaun that hiding is not the answer.

Life is short. There is much to be accomplished. There are many people to be helped.

For lawyers looking to learn, contribute to the advancement of the law, meet some of the most influential people in your field, serve others, and build the practice you could only dream of, networking through the Internet is required. It’s not an option.

Blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+, whichever you choose to be active on are needed for professional and business development. Otherwise you’re shutting yourself off from what’s becoming the ‘real’ world.

To focus first on paranoia as a lawyer or other business professional seems to be taking your eye off the ball.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Stew Dean

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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