The Tipping Point – Privacy IssuesPosted: January 17, 2012
As I was browsing my Facebook, I saw one of my “friends” posted this status update last week. I thought this was a perfect blog intro, purely for the creep factor. Now that I have some readers wondering if they’re mobile service provider is tracking them, too, it presents the question – when do people feel their privacy is no longer private?
The fact is, as the information highway continues to expand, more people are blindly hitching a ride at the cost of their own privacy. The web in its social form is about people-to-people communication, sharing and consensual building of online spaces. As the communication and sharing continues, more and more data will be collected. Data that like recyclable materials, can be reused in many ways – such as, demographic marketing. Cue spooky music.
Everyone knows social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Linkedin use your personal data for themselves – and not only for themselves but enable others to use your data as well, which allows for subliminal features of communication. Hey LinkedIn, how did you know I might want to connect with my landlord that I wrote to one time via email? Oh well – ‘connect’, yeah 89 connections and counting! Yes they are watching you closely. Actually many people are unaware of how much information Facebook is actually collecting about them, and it’s not as subversive as you might think – users voluntarily put the info out there. The thing is, if you don’t regularly check your Facebook privacy settings- you are probably sharing more information than you thought. If you’ve never checked your privacy settings, then you are definitely sharing more information than you thought.
Just last November, Facebook was held to the fire by the U.S. Trade Commission over a very public privacy issue that settled out of court. Charges included deceiving users and shared information that it had promised to keep private.
Now that Facebook has created the Timeline feature- even more privacy concerns have arose. There have been numerous complaints about private messages posted to a user which are now posted publicly on their timeline. Facebook has disputed these claims and said that they are older wall posts that were always public by individuals.
By offering up data, people may receive advertising they may genuinely be interested in, but this requires giving up some degrees of privacy. And I’m not sure everyone is ready to give out that information yet. Like many, I’m not sure if I want the advertising world to know that I’m Gucci loving mother of 5 Jersey girl who works at a tanning salon (nice red herring to throw them off my trail)! With Facebook having over 800 million active users, the 20-something age range and the ever expanding older demographics are no longer okay with social site dictating privacy in any form.
CEO of Google famously said, “ Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”
I think many people are beginning to feel that their private information is at risk not just by social sites, but also by hackers. Google reported just today that it is introducing a campaign to ease privacy concerns. The Good to Know campaign will be featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines. The campaign is said to offer practical advice and tips on how to manage what kind of data people share with Google and other sites.
Since so much information is being collected about each of us, and privacy concerns are becoming more of a hot topic – companies are starting to establish a trust between us and them. However, it’s not likely you are going to be able to keep all your information private. And the bottom line: if you don’t want someone to potentially see something- don’t share it…unfortunately with anyone, not even grandma, that’s why this blog is going to sit comfortably on my desktop where no one can read it….