Monday, April 19, 2010

Privacy Issues in a Digital World

Privacy on the web... What does that mean? First of all, there is NO privacy on the World Wide Web. Although my Facebook page is restricted to anyone that is not my “friend,” I will not post anything I don’t want people to see. I placed friend in quotes because not everyone in my friend list is just that. It may include people I graduated high school with whom I now never speak to; a “friend” may even include people I went to elementary school with. The thing is that I may have known these individuals at one point of time, but when I grow up and don’t spend time with them, I basically do not know them at all. Hmm, I guess I should go through that friend list and delete everyone who I don’t speak to.

I am also on Twitter. My tweets may be protected but they could still get to the public. For instance, when you tag someone in a comment on Twitter, they will see what you said about them. This is cool because sometimes celebrities that you follow will see the “tweet” you post and they will write a comment back. But wait, I thought my tweets were protected. Too, if you have a friend to reply to one of your tweets, then whoever can see your friend’s page can see the comment you tweeted that they replied to. It sounds a little confusing, but the main point is that no one can be thoroughly protected on the internet.

The best advice would be not to put anything on the internet that you don’t want others to see. I know for myself, I never put my full name on sites. I usually use my last initial, that way it would be more difficult to find me. Employers, too, can find potential employees on the internet. They can learn much about you from your status updates to your tweets. They know what activities you participate in and the kind of things you talk about with your friends. Future employers can look at your online profile to figure if they would like to work with you or not. It would be horrible to be denied a job before an interview. It is like you have no control, but you do. You have the power and control not to post dishonorable things on the internet.

So I Googled my name. I guess it doesn’t help that my cousin has the same name; however, I saw a blog that I had to create for another class there along with a site where you could contact me. What?! The email address was blurred out except for the first and last letters, (which were correct) but you had to pay to see more information. That was a bit scary, not to mention, I could find myself in the white pages where they even had my middle name and relatives! Now I was more shocked than ever. I personally feel that if someone wants to know information about me, they need to ask me; they should not be able to search me on Google. I think it is fine to Google celebrities but for an average Jane, like me, it’s surprising and somewhat creepy.

Now these large companies are paying their employees to be able to recommend products to a specific individual. Netflix and Amazon recommend products that are similar to the ones that you have bought or rented in the past. Granted, it’s a nice jester, but seriously, it is like someone who may like rice; then, someone that they have never met comes along, assuming they like Asian foods (since they have rice), with three plates of different rice dishes they “recommend.” Like I said, it’s nice, but it’s weird! It just shows that the portion of privacy you may have thought you had is ever so decreasing. Those who are growing up in this digital generation will have no clue what privacy is. They should expect nothing from privacy.

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog, it really kept my attention :) I like how you stress so strongly how the Internet is so bad with privacy. You literally have no privacy on the Internet! Whatever you post can be seen by anyone, or at least that is what you should think when you post something, just in case it's true! I agree with so much of what you said - I, also, never post anything on Facebook that I want to keep private - because, is it ever really private? - essentially, no!