by Jon Phillips
Imagine a world where your cell phone, laptop, and PDA are sharing the information they know about you. They know where you live, what you typically search for, what restaurants you like to eat at, what movies you like to watch, and they even know some more personal details about you. Web 3.0 promises to make searching for what we want easier, simpler, and faster. Any web search would pull up local results for your area and would include websites that “it” thinks you would like to see. Sounds convenient right? But to some it also sounds like an invasion of our privacy. The big question is who has control over this data about our everyday lives? The argument is that the semantic web would make it easier to find what we are looking for online, but does it also make it easier for identity thieves?
Proponents of web 3.0 state that there will be built in privacy controls to make sure any personal data is encrypted, but with identity theft as the fastest growing crime in America, there is reason to be alarmed by such intrusive technology. Just like social media has led to the theft of many identities in the last 5 years, we are slowly losing control of any information about ourselves. Just by doing a search for what information about you is already available on the internet will help you realize that any further invasion of our privacy could make matters even worse.
But is being scared of a few privacy issues really worth missing out on a technological breakthrough like the semantic web promises to be? It all comes down to how much you value your privacy. Even if your identity is never stolen or compromised, how much do you want the general public to know about you? There are many websites which display Facebook applications and show how many of your friends like that website or Facebook fan page. Will those same websites someday show which of your friends have even visited those websites and what exact pages they were looking at?
In a world where we are all supposed to be free and open with each other, this mentality also presents security breaches with our personal identities. Web 3.0 is supposed to allow us to pick and choose who will actually see this data, but the more data about us that is out there, the harder it is to control. And what may be inaccessible to the general public today, could be hacked or breached by channels that less than trustworthy.
Fortunately we have time to think things over. It will be several more years before web 3.0 is ready for us, and perhaps even longer before we are ready for it. In the meantime, it is best if we all take better care of our private data. At least with social media you have control over what information you want to be displayed if you even want any to be displayed at all. So what do you think? Will the semantic web be an invasion of your privacy? Leave a comment below to let everyone know your thoughts about the direction of web 3.0.
Jon Phillips is a writer for an identity theft protection website that gives tips and advice about keeping your identity safe and secure. You can also find reviews on services like Lifelock and Trusted ID at www.SafeIdentityprotection.com.