So what is the average Facebook user to do? All we privacy advocates can do is tell you to turn up your privacy controls only allowing friends to see your pictures, making sure you approve any photo tags before others can see them and limiting the photos you decide to post. But, of course, that makes things less convenient. And, based upon the tsunami of disclosures regarding NSA snooping, doing so may not prevent the government from accessing your photos anyway.
In an interview with the Smithsonian on Friday, one of the men behind the dystopian surveillance-state TV series "Person Of Interest" -- who is intimately aware of the potential vulnerabilities of participating in the surveillance culture -- talked about the trade-offs between what he knows to be smart security and what is increasing the normal level of connectedness online.
Greg Plageman, the executive producer on "Person of Interest," told the Smithsonian, "There's a bit of a scare, and we all react and say, wait a minute, do I need to be more privacy-conscious in terms of how I operate technology? And the truth is it's a huge pain in the ass. I've tried a couple of these web-surfing software [services], but it slows things down. Eventually, if you want to be a person that's connected, if you want to stay connected to your colleagues and your family, you realize that you have to surrender a certain amount of privacy."
"In terms of whether or not we're entering another era, it's difficult to say when you realize that the assault on privacy is both public and private now. It's Google, it's Facebook, it's what you voluntarily have surrendered," he said.
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.