Slate Fare

What’s the State of Online Privacy? 

A members-only open thread. 

A recent Pew survey found that 61 percent of respondents “would like to do more” to secure their private information online.

Image by Thinkstock

Hey there, hi there, I’m Torie Bosch, Slate’s Future Tense editor. Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University, and we look at emerging technologies and their implications for policy and society.

Naturally, privacy is an enormous component of Future Tense coverage—we’ve covered eye-tracking privacy, brain-computer interface privacy, genetic privacy, and more. But as much as we focus on the next decade’s privacy battles, old-fashioned problems still resonate. Just recently, Amy Webb’s 2013 Slate piece about not posting anything about her child online went viral—again. The controversial article has racked up more than 200,000 Facebook shares and continues to inspire vigorous debate. Its most recent tour around the Internet came just weeks after Pew released a survey on privacy attitudes, which found, among other things, that 61 percent of respondents “would like to do more” to secure their private information online.

I feel pretty confident in saying that Slate Plus members are smarter than the average Pew respondent, so I wanted to know how you all feel about the state of online privacy. Would you rather brave the mall than give your credit card info to some online merchants? Are you more concerned about hackers swiping your data, or data-miners building (sometimes accurate, sometimes not) profiles of you? Does the government need to better regulate privacy online? Have you taken any steps—like become acquainted with the Facebook privacy dinosaur or started using a password manager—to regain control of your digital footprint? Have you ever actually read a privacy policy? What technological privacy issues should the media—especially Future Tense!—pay more attention to? And most importantly: What’s your keepsake password? (I’ll take your Social Security number, too, if it’s handy.)

The thread is yours. In the comments area below, tell us what you think. This thread will run for the next week, and I’ll pop in regularly to respond to comments and questions.