Final Paper Proposal: How is the Internet changing the definition of Privacy?

How has the definition of privacy changed with the increased use of new digital media, specifically, the Internet? What is it about anonymity that is transforming what people choose to share? What is private and what is public when it comes to the Web? How does an audience know when to draw the line between what is intended to be private and public? In looking at various online websites and communities, including Facebook, PostSecret, Live Journal, Twitter, and video diaries, this paper will examine how the idea of privacy is changing. It will look at not only what people are sharing, but how they are sharing it. Are people more apt to reveal greater personal information when their identity is kept a secret? What formats and mediums do people prefer to use when sharing private information? What steps are people taking to protect their privacy? How are various internet sites using an individual’s personal online preferences to collect data and tailor advertisements? For example, when a person buys a book on Amazon, that information is stored so that the next time that particular individual logs in, Amazon will be able to recommend various products that person may prefer. The definition of privacy has changed dramatically with the Internet. People are revealing more about themselves through online diaries, blogs, and journals, through online pictures, social networks and videos. People are even revealing information about themselves when they might not even realize it, as websites collect data to discover what appeals to consumers. Ultimately this paper will look to discover if public is the new private.

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