You're on social media, scrolling for something to capture your attention, and you pause.
There's an image or link that looks interesting. But if you were to click and others — your friends, your family, your employer — were to find out, would that be embarrassing?
While the internet and social media have made us more interconnected than ever, it's also meant constant surveillance by companies — in other words, the feeling that on the internet, we are always being watched. Our clicks are logged, categorised, interpreted and rated.
It's leading to what Tijmen Schep, a Dutch technology critic, calls "social cooling" — a society of increasing social conformity and rigidity, in which we self-censor or second guess what we do online for fear of repercussions.
"There's a huge business of companies called data brokers," Schep, the author of Design My Privacy, a "beginners guide to ethical design for the Internet of Things", told Lateline.
"They gather data about us, from everything from our cookies through emails — everything they can get their hands on. They're creating reputation scores about us, detailed psychological profiles."
Based on what we post and like and share on social media, these firms use artificial intelligence to infer intimate characteristics, creating valuable data.
That's given rise to something called the reputation economy.
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