On BioScience and Life and Such

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Me: Visible, Traceable, …. Miserable ?

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2008 at 3:07 pm

post to news.thinkgene.com

allelic length variation among 6 individuals

Image via Wikipedia

I am more and more visible. I blog, tweet and use services like friendfeed and LinkedIN. I started out with an alias, but now have my name out there. My picture I anticipate will follow soon. There are services I do not use, – like facebook, – it’s still to “unprofessional” for me (I like my web-presence to be mostly work-related).

As a consequence of this visibility, or more specifically, the subsequent information sharing, I am wiser now as a person than when I started my extended web presence about a year ago. Much wiser in fact. The personal gain has been tremendous.

Work-wise (sic !), we have been planning to set up human ID testing services which would imply creating  DNA-profiles for human identification. Such identification can be used in criminal cases, immigration cases, genealogy research, paternity testing and more.

I realize from learning the nitty gritty of DNA-profiling, and seeing how the technology develops (and becomes cheaper),  that I am (we all are) more and more traceable.

Thus, my body (DNA) as well as my soul (web-presence), is now out there for everyone to see

The big question then becomes: Is this virtual hereditary omnipresence dangerous to me ? Are we approaching George Orwells Big Brother scenario ?

I (maybe naively) say no, it is not dangerous. Because, to some extent I still choose when to be present on the web and to which groups I am visible. And, If I choose not to do illegal acts, – and If the system works the way it is supposed to, I would be kept out of any DNA-profile registry (if my profile is not registered, then my identity is not revealed by my DNA, and I can retain my anonymity).

If I end up in such a registry because I am falsely accused of something, or framed……or if someone decides to do a SNP scan of me without my knowledge……..or if my web-identity is misused……now that’s a different ballpark altogether, and I’ll try and explore the danger that lies in such abuse in future posts. Fact is though, in these cases we are talking about abuse and abuse is “dangerous” in any setting.

For now I’d like to make a point to the contrary: At least when it comes to sharing personal info on the web: It could in fact turn out to be damaging to my future career and reputation not to do it. Damaging, because web-sharing is rapidly becoming the norm (pointed out by Bora Zivkovic on friendfeed):

Exactly! 20 years from now a person who does NOT have drunk Facebook pictures online will be suspicious – what was there to be whitewashed? or is this person too timid or antisocial?

Nevertheless, I still choose not to sign up on Facebook since anyone valuing my personal life higher than my professional one when hiring is not worth working for.

And that’s just it, even if I’m being naive about this, I still have a choice not to share, – and as long as that choice is a free one, then there should be no reason to sound the big brother alarm.

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