Then and Now -- Identity
My few readers may be wondering if and when this series is ever going to end. Just humor me for a few more posts and then I will either take another break or move on.
Today I am pondering who we are and what control we have over our identities. The answer to that has definitely changed over the past 50 years.
When I was a child, who ever heard of identity theft? Occasionally you might hear of someone pretending to be someone else who had died, but stealing someone’s VISA number didn’t occur because no one had a VISA card. Many people didn’t have a Social Security number so that couldn’t be easily stolen either. For a lot of us our birth certificates or driver’s licenses were our only proof of identity.
Fast forward to today where we have multiple charge cards and we exist in countless databases because of our employment, memberships, purchases, activities, etc. There are many more ways to pretend to be someone else.
Not to mention our Internet presence. In fact it has become very difficult for a person to hide with things like Facebook and the various people-finders out there. What has become a genealogist’s dream has become a personal nightmare for people who don’t want to be found.
Other than making us much more vulnerable to identity theft and becoming a time sink for social networking, this change has probably been a positive one. George Orwell’s 1984 has in effect come to be without necessarily all the negative consequences.
I did hear just yesterday that a running Camcorder was discovered in the bathroom of the Starbucks I often frequent on Capitol Hill. That’s just a little too up close and personal for me...