We all know how beautiful the UBC campus can be. Nestled close enough to both the mountains and the water—what’s not to love? Darryl McIvor and Frans Kouwenhoven have however chosen instead to focus on those who occupy our beautiful campus in creating Peeked Interest, an online dating site that has stirred up quite a bit of discussion on the notions of online privacy, as well as raised quite a few eyebrows.
In short, the site, currently open only to university students from UBC and UVic, allows students to anonymously post pictures of people they’ve encountered and have found attractive—whether in the SUB, on the bus, or even in the famous Harry Potter room—in hopes of making a connection. According to McIvor and Kouwenhoven, the site has been highly successful in its development stages, though strangely, the site is currently down on “black out” for maintenance. It’s questionable that a site so successful would be completely shut down for the summer. And yet, the discussion it’s triggered is anything but dormant.
The Vancouver Sun reports that Rick Cluff of CBC Radio “grilled” McIvor, asking if he felt that posting photos of others without their consent was a breach of privacy. McIvor replied by saying, “you have to look at the demographic that this service is used for. It’s university students. I think, perhaps, an older generation might feel it is an invasion of …”
As a university student, I’m not so sure I agree with the age card McIvor decided to play. Though it is true the way we connect has changed drastically over the last few years, does that mean issues of privacy are or should be any more negligible than they have been in the past? I don’t believe so. Why should connecting with others have to come at a personal price?
The terms and conditions on their website states, “You will ensure all of your posted photographs were taken in a PUBLIC place and the subject of the photo did NOT have a reasonable expectation of personal privacy.” I am not so sure being in a public place means I should not have an expectation of some control over how my image is used.
Kashmir Hill, a writer for Forbes magazine on privacy and technology issues, appears to agree with McIvor and is quoted in the Sun saying, “this desire to have control of our image and how it’s used is a very old concern… I think as a society, we just need to get thicker skins and understand that we can’t always control information.”
We asked our followers on Twitter if they thought it could be possible that privacy today is outdated. In response, @Swerty replied, “No matter what the age we live in, privacy could never be outdated.” I tend to agree. Connectedness should not insinuate a compromise of one’s self. Yes, it is true that we can’t always control information. But as said in ‘the Incredibles,’ “Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.” The fact that we now live in a digital age should not change that.
Whether or not you are creeped out or intrigued by Peeked Interest, it should always be in your best interest to stay informed so that you can protect yourself and connect safely. Know what the implications of social media sites and dating online are, and how to prevent any unwanted attention. And should you have any doubts, know it is always better to be safe than sorry.