The History of Privacy

Click here for timeline

The above document highlights some of the stages that we in North America during the listed years, and much of the rest of the world have experienced. Some examples are:

1890    First Kodak snapshot camera invented

1900    Fingerprints identified as unique and distinguishable

1907    First dictograph (bugging device) invented

1936  Social security numbers created in the U.S. as part of life-long piece of  personal identity

1948    Sexual behavior in the Human Male by A. Kinsey published, the first open discussions about individuals’ sexuality

1950s The cold war and trust in government prompts increased surveillance of citizens

1964  SIN numbers distributed in Canada to record transactions between individuals and the government

1967    U.S. Supreme Court rules that intercepting communications requires a warrant

1975    Computers become available commercially

1980s  DNA fingerprinting and cell phones become widely available

1995    The term “spyware” is used for the first time

2004    Facebook appears

Although there are many reasons to be cautious when providing information through social networking, reflecting on the changes above helped me take a step back. While the rise in “oversharing” on the Internet exists today, there have been many significant changes in our past that could have led to extensive privacy problems.

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