Last week, Andrew “weev” Aurenheimer, was sentenced to 41 months for going through publicly accessible AT&T URLs which exposed the email address of 114,000 iPad owners. I don’t want to talk get into the absurdity of the sentence or how AT&T should be the one held accountable for this “security.”
I’m more interested in the fact that people still consider an email address to be private information (although I do realize that the leak also revealed iPad ownership information). This may have been the case years ago when we arrived on the internet but right now, our email addresses are everywhere. We give it to every new website we sign up for and we display it proudly on our websites. I’m sure my email address appears on dozens of spam lists for sale on the internet. Google already gives 3000 results when I search for my email address.
The definition of what is and is not private changes as a society evolves. Technology has been increasing the pace and society has yet to catch up. Most of the people in the tech world are pretty aware of the trends but the majority of people are surprised by how much information they’re sharing whenever they touch a digital device. And it’s only going to get worse. If we’re this concerned about our email addresses, how will we feel when people use Google Glass to look up our Facebook or LinkedIn profiles just by looking at us?