Andrew Keen Weighs In On Privacy: “The Internet Hasn’t Learned How To Forget”

TechCrunch contributor Andrew Keen took to the Disrupt stage with our own Alexia Tsotsis earlier this morning to do two things — promote his new book Digital Vertigo, and tackle the problem of sharing too much.

According to Keen, the more of our lives we broadcast, the more transparent we become. Fair enough, though at some point during that process he believes that we are slowly losing “some essential quality of what it means to be human” when we don’t keep secrets.

As you may imagine, major social platforms like Facebook play a considerable role in the oversharing epidemic that Keen sees taking hold today. With Facebook’s identity system being adopted by scores of new websites, apps, and services, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to inhabit the web without registering their identity with the social network. Though more than a few people have pointed out over time that those concerned with privacy aren’t required to use Facebook, Keen thinks it’s getting harder and harder to dodge the service.

Despite being a vocal opponent of the role Facebook plays in this new, more highly-shared world, Keen bears little animosity toward its exceptionally rich young founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

“I don’t think he’s the devil,” Keen pointed out. “I think he’s a nice guy and he means well, but I do think he’s playing with fire.” Zuck does however give Keen “the creeps,” mostly because he has a sort of child-like devotion to his concept of identity.

So what’s his answer to this looming problem? Legislation (among other things), as he feels there needs to be a way for the government to control what services can and can’t track, like the Do Not Track law that FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz called for earlier this month. Perhaps more importantly though, Keen would like to see technology that’s able to forget — only then, he claims, will the Internet be “a place for us to inhabit.”