Should collecting information about people without their knowledge be allowed? At the heart of this question, is whether or not our privacy is maintained if others are collecting information about us. This is the most serious implication here because the others are derivatives of this question. Ultimately, one should understand that, â€œeverything we do on the Internet should be treated like an elevator: people are going to be listening,â€ (Tips for Protecting Privacy Online) but the issue of privacy isnâ€™t concerned with what weâ€™re willing to share that is exposed, but what we arenâ€™t willing to share that is exposed (Zeller Jr). The danger is that the fragile relationship between the individual and the anonymous will crumble. It is this desired anonymity of the web that makes it such an attractive sphere of commerce and relationship. What happens when we lose this security of anonymity? The price that we paid, â€œdepersonaliz[ing] our culture and los[ing] the compassion and pity â€¦ perceived in [Rousseaâ€™s] Noble Savageâ€ (Sassower, 59) all go for naught. We feel a sense of angst because weâ€™ve given of ourselves and received nothing in return. In fact, it could be perceived that weâ€™ve lost more than we gave. Information must be gathered, but what is the cost of leaving pieces of oneâ€™s self behind? If I can still be identified, then my need for, and trust in, the Internet disappears.
In previous worldviews, information was either given to the individual, or was compartmentalized enough to be properly processed. This is no longer the case. Information is in and of itself a paradigm that is becoming more and more difficult to process. Kuhn calls a paradigm, â€œwhat members of a scientific community share,â€ and this can be extended to the Internet by looking at all users as the scientists experimenting on how the web connects us and allows us to interact. Beyond processing, comprehension is also becoming an issue. The next worldview must address information and see how it is affecting the general ability for humans to evolve the understanding between the various paradigms that co-exist. If information could be better understood, then the potential to bridge paradigms would increase, and the potential progress derived from this is quite exciting.
However, the notion that less is more fails here. Why? Because the less of ourselves that we give, the more that we lose. At the same time, giving up too much of ourselves, and then having this information blatantly misused makes less of us as individuals, while returning little in terms of better service, better experience, and better understanding of our identity. Sassower comments that, â€œComputer technology can replace some of the uses of a library, but it must be treated respectfully â€¦ in order to sustain our humanityâ€ (Sassower, 101). Similarly, the Internet can replace much of how we interact or exist, but it must be done in such a way as to preserve our humanity. When we exit our browsers, it is important that we are still human. Giving up too little of ourselves denies us the experience of the Internet, while giving too up too much leaves a shell where a human once stood.