Where were you born? How much money do your parents make? Have you ever thought of suicide? Are you taking any prescription medicines? Have you ever had phone sex? Cybersex? Yes? No? Why? Why not?

In 1967 philosopher Marshall McLuhan described a culture of universal, tyrannical womb-to-tomb surveillance causing a very serious dilemma between our claim to privacy and society’s need to know. The traditional idea of private, independent thoughts and actions are no longer private and most importantly no longer erasable.

Welcome to the new Twitter-ized world. Our personal histories – when we go to the post office, pay a bridge toll, buy a fountain soda at the gas station, Dorito’s at the corner store or concert tickets…all of this is permanently recorded and identifiable.

What are the ramifications of this common, available knowledge, now that we have become so involved with each other; now that all of us have become the unwitting result of technological advancement? Do employers have a more difficult time doing background checks?

No longer are our personas simply shaped by our immediate friends and families. The whirlpool of information fathered by this techno-society greatly exceeds the influence that our parents used to bring to bear.

This lack of personal privacy has changed the way we relate, the way we perceive and the way we live.

While we may be lucky that we can Google “North Korea” and in .13 seconds get 130,000,000 Web results alone, we can also Google “buy adderall online” and find over a million Web sites with access to places to buy this drug illegally.

Access to this information becomes both a privilege and a responsibility. What are your thoughts?

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  1. That’s right. Better be careful what you do. Being a married woman and having an affair with a married man….well, you just might leave clues and evidence behind on the computer. Cal Poly has a 50-something year old adulteress in your midst…wonder who it could be?

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