THE ONLY WAY to protect your privacy online is to conceal your true self to intrusive actions around you. When you walk down a street, you're likely to encounter a surveillance camera and some of those clips end up in the cloud. With face detection software, it's possible to find you even though you never knew you were in a field of vision. Walk close to an airport security checkpoint and you'll see the cameras move to track people. The only way you can hide from all these devices is to cloak your face. And that works only to a point because American pre-flight security will get your face on camera or you won't fly to the States.
Several of my friends have become very nervous when they realised how much of their personal lives were locked up on servers owned by commercial companies like Facebook, Bebo and Flickr. These companies enhance their value by holding files that can be sold as advertising space. It's an exchange of your privacy for advertising money that goes to the web host.
Google often finds things about people that are buried deep in Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Facebook and Flickr. Some of those things have no bearing on the people they purport to represent. That's a big disadvantage of internet social networking, made a bigger headache than many expect because it's material that often marks us in ways we never anticipate.
All the more reason to set out from the very beginning to never divulge information about our real private selves. Real elements of personal privacy should never be exposed online.