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Where has our privacy gone?


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Kate Middleton

Photographs of a topless Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing in France has sent Europe into frenzy. But the publication of the images is symptomatic of a wider problem. 

A five-page affair headlined ‘Oh my God – sex and sun en Provence’ showed intimate photographs of the royal couple, who were unaware that they were being photographed.

Critics have been quick to argue that this was an objectionable act with feminist Deborah Orr viewing it as a ‘malicious invasion of privacy’. This begs the question: are we living in a world where any notion of privacy has utterly vanished? Some quarters have argued, despite the fact that William and Kate were on private property, that the Duchess ought to have been more careful given her reputation and status as one of the most photographed woman in the world.

However, those that were quick to judge ought to be aware: how many of us are quick to give away personal data and information on a daily and even hourly basis without even realising?

Kate Middleton is not the only victim of the increased vanishing of our privacy. Privacy problems are not just limited to international celebrities; even students face them. Students advertising their university house address to publicise a house warming are all easily accessible to those that can exploit and take advantage of an empty house. Many students also constantly post on Twitter and Facebook their activities and their schedule, which leaves their house at risk and belongings vulnerable to theft and robbery. This harks back to student Rachel Ross who publicised a house party via Facebook that led to £15,000 worth of damage after hundreds of uninvited guests arrived and trashed her house.

Additionally, Facebook’s acquisition of recognition software ‘’ could have also negated its users’ trust in the privacy element of the site. Facebook benefits from people sharing certain parts of themselves with information such as their birthdays, education background and personal photos being readily available at just a click of the mouse from employers and companies who benefit from such data. Social networking is not only limited to Facebook, with Twitter allowing you to share minute-by-minute details of your thoughts, your day and conversations that would never have been shared ten years ago.

A simple Google search can reveal location, blogs set up under your name, social networking pages and any other details that can allow future employers or anyone else who so desires to dig up information.

The scary thing about social media is that we choose what we share online - and still it can backfire dramatically. It appears that the line of what should be kept private is now blurred to such an extent that we have become at least partially responsible for any invasion of privacy that happens to us. 

However, information that can be gleaned from the internet is not always put there intentionally. Cyber stalkers can even go as far as finding someone’s address, neighbours and whether they vote in electoral polls.

We all are in some way responsible for revealing information that is easily accessible to companies and employers should they want it. If Kate Middleton has been a victim of technology and intrusion of privacy, rest assured that the rest of us will face something similar at some point.

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