Thursday, December 22, 2011

Privacy & Confidentiality

Some of the general concerns surrounding privacy and confidentiality in 'New Media' include storage of private information for users on social networking sites and the seemingly permanent existence of past posts no matter how many times we hit the 'delete' button. Now, here are some other privacy issues that must be considered in 'New Media' such as: Who has access to photos of me? In the case of Facebook, there is also the controversy about easy access to photos posted by other users. Essentially, I can go to the profile of another user, copy his/her photos and use it to satisfy my own agenda. This is all without the knowledge of the original user. While on the subject of Facebook, 'tagging' of photos can also be considered an invasion of privacy since other Facebook users. Without the right privacy controls, you can find yourself being 'tagged' in photos that have nothing to do with you and in some cases are lewd, and/or contain text that can have others perceive you in a negative light. This can be of great concern to current employees as well as job seekers, since some companies conduct strategic searches on social networking sites to keep track of employees and candidates.
Who knows where I am and what I'm doing? One word comes to mind, when I think of this concern, Craigslist, an online community which provides local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events. This social network is notorious for attracting users who want nothing more than to capitalize on information posted by other users so that they can create opportunities to take advantage, or hurt other users. Placing something such as, "I'm taking the entire family to India for a two-week vacation," can result in a burglary, people being seriously hurt or worse. That brings me to another point, one should always limit the amount of information that they place in their 'Profiles.' It is not smart to give full physical/mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and date of birth. Putting your date of birth on a social networking site can increase the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft. Downloads and Cookies Whenever a user clicks or downloads content from any website, automatically cookies are placed on the user's computer. Cookies are small data files that the user's server sends to his/her browser when he/she visits the site. While cookies are helpful creating ease at which certain aspects of the website is accessed, however the negative side of having cookies is that they share the same space as other cookies that are used to access banking information for example. If the cookie is from a site that is not trusted, you run the risk of making stored, sensitive information on your computer accessible to hackers. Overall, the user has control of the level of privacy that he/she seeks, since most 'New Media' forms offer options to not make profiles public, not allow the user to be tagged in photos and disabling cookies. However, the user should refer to the concept learned as children, which is, "Do not talk to strangers." I use this example because as a general rule, users should never add someone to their network who they do not know just for the sake of capturing the record of most 'friends' or 'followers' for example. Inviting strangers to share your space, even if they are 'friends of other friends,' can potentially expose the user to negative outcomes. Further, the user should take control of who can see their information, by limiting access to 'friends only.' As an added step, the user should just place scant amounts of information about their personal lives on their profiles to protect not only their privacy but also their lives. Featured image sourced from:

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