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The chilling down effect in Norway

Privacy trends 2014

The Snowden case has shown that we must be aware that personal information which we leave behind on the Internet, may sooner or later become the subject of unexpected and, for many of us, also undesired attention.

How are we affected by the fact that someone may be looking over our shoulder at any given time?

Our Facebook updates, Google searches, Twitter messages as well as whom we send text messages to or call, all become part of the gigantic digital haystack which is analysed to identify any suspicious patterns. But the intelligence services are not the only players eager for our data. Other public authorities, as well as commercial undertakings, would like to know as much as possible about us in order to improve and tailor their services and advertisements.

How are we affected by the fact that someone may be looking over our shoulder at any given time? People who know they are being watched, change their behaviour because the context is changed – the trust in the surroundings has changed. If we are uncertain of who has access to the information we leave behind, we are forced to take this uncertainty into consideration. We will start to reconsider what we write, what we do and who we have contact with.

The Norwegian Data Procection Authority carried out a survey in November 2013 and wrote a report that analyses part of the results. The survey looks at whether Snowdons disclosure of American surveillance has had any impact on people's willingness to share information online.

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