Why is it that we are more willing to accept a company’s harvesting of our personal information than when a peer does it? Is this due to the apparent transactional nature of the privacy invasion (I give the company my data in exchange for their free services)? And do any of our ad hoc codes of ethics change based on whose privacy is in question? At the end, this is to ask who today’s—and tomorrow’s—internet is for.
If the corporate and governmental entities that provide us with internet access have devised powerful means to circumvent our individual privacy—either by covering our consent or by sheer financial prowess (such as paying drop-in-the-bucket fines to the E.U.)—then what are the ethical codes for us as individuals when navigating our online privacy and that of others?
Utilizing technology, our bodies form endless expanses of networks that extend our consciousness beyond physical spaces and into relatively uncharted virtual territories. In the virtual, our avatars can reimagine the depth of formerly restricted physical and social identities in more innovative and provocative contexts. In these brave, new spaces, the body is our only anchor to the monotony and futility of the physical realm.
Reveling in the luxurious ethereal harbor of the virtual, how do we define our identity? What are the limits and ethics of adaptations that cater to our innermost desires? Would we change our physical appearance-age-race-gender-sexuality and engage in identity tourism? Are we free from societal taboos in virtual space? Would we surpass these limitations to explore altogether unknown territories of bodily experience?