The alarm around privacy has often been tempered by the conviction of some that privacy as a fundamental right and social value is numbered. According to these voices, nothing needs to be done to address the protection of online privacy, since the new generations, the “digital natives”, no longer value their privacy.
The objective of these pages is to clarify this opinion and present data and trends that allow us to draw a more complex present and future. In the first part we deal with the relationship of young people with their intimacy and the online exhibition. In the second part, we focus on how the permanent registration, voluntary or not, of our activities and opinions, can affect the political commitment and the exercise of civil rights.
In an important part of the world, and especially in the cities and in social groups of middle or high incomes, adolescents grow up surrounded by surveillance devices that we have been normalizing, without fully knowing their social impact. In the case of social networks and the Internet, we often learn their limits or risks as we use them and suffer their consequences directly or indirectly, without the possibility of taking precautions until it is too late.
In the absence of information and alternatives, young people often swing between paranoia and carefreeness, without having concrete tools for managing intermediate stages or calibrating the consequences or long-term uses of their fingerprint. This black or white scenario raises doubts about the social desirability of today’s technological adaptability.
Is it desirable that young people should take responsibility for their possible future actions before they take them? Is it reasonable to open up corporate spaces to establish relationships where there is no possibility of controlling one’s own data? Values and rights such as freedom of expression, identity formation in freedom, the right to a second opportunity and non-discrimination between who made responsible use of social networks in their youth and who did not, must be part of an urgent debate on the relationship between young people, the Internet and politics.