Your phone rings at dinnertime; it’s another marketing call; your email box is crammed with unsolicited junk email; most of the mail in your traditional mailbox was generated by a computer. As marketers become increasingly desperate to cut through the clutter (that they have created), the marketing bombardment will only increase. Technology will be used to invade your privacy on a scale previously unimagined: already, computerized systems are leaving automated phone messages, hidden cameras monitor many of your movements, and government and businesses collect and utilize information they have surreptitiously obtained.
Mini-cameras, mini-tape recorders, see-in-the-dark binoculars and a whole host of other equipment originally developed for the military or specialized markets are now being marketed directly to consumers. As technology moves from the laboratory to the masses, almost everyone will have the ability to audiotape, videotape, or otherwise monitor you.
Privacy is critical to maintaining sanity; the only way to have control over your life is to allocate your attention according to your own priorities, without constant and unsolicited interruption. Determining who is allowed to contact you lets you decide who gets your attention, a very limited resource. In order to control who contacts you, you must control the information about yourself that others receive.
Information about yourself is data that you create; that information is your property. You should provide personal information only in cases where you are confident that it will not be misused. Be aware of the potential for invasion of your privacy, and deal ruthlessly with those who are trying to steal your attention. You have no obligation to be polite to those who invade your privacy.
In the future, as the use of mini-cameras and other intrusive technology becomes more widespread, it will make sense to be more vigilant — without being paranoid — about protecting your privacy. You may also want to consider political support of measures designed to curb invasions of privacy.
On controlling the flow of information about yourself, especially information that allows others to contact you.