PERSONAL IDENTITY IN DIGITAL AGE: THE LOSS OF PRIVACY, THE LIMITS OF RESPONSIBILITY

E. O. Trufanova

Abstract


New digital communication technologies challenge the stability of the personal identity of the present human. The digitalization however can be regarded is just another – more radical – stage of the information society. The problem of personal identity is especially important because it allows to regard the person as a responsible subject. But the present people who are constantly using digital communications find themselves in the situation of digital panopticon where their words and deeds in the Net are seen by all other users. The watershed between public and private spheres dissolves – the person regards his page at the social network or his blog as his personal space while it is in fact a part of public space that is open to the whole world. As a result, any online-statement or act can become a resonant event that can influence person’s reputation. When offline, the person answers only to his significant others and to those whom his words or acts concern directly, while when online, the person is made responsible before the whole wide world, and often becomes a victim of misunderstanding, bullying or slander. In such a situation a rift appears between how the persons regards oneself and how it is represented in the Net: this rift often becomes the basis of the identity crisis. It is shown that the society is not ready for this new communication qualities: neither psychologically, nor morally or legally.  One of the possible solutions that a person often finds for oneself is conformism and rejection of any active deeds, but this solution is counterproductive. The conclusion is drawn that it is necessary to develop new mechanisms of both social regulation of such communications and of individual adaptation of human to the specifics of this new communication environment.


Keywords


digital communication; personal identity; private and public; responsibility; identity crisis; subject; digitalization; panopticon; Internet

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