Private Technology Public Profile?

The Beeb is discussing its favourite technologies of 2007 which inevitably includes Facebook which Britain in particular has embraced with other social networking web sites.Facebook

I recently watched a BBC Money programme report into the social networking site Facebook which highlighted various privacy concerns (still available on the BBC iPlayer but only 1 day left before it expires). Such was the impact of that programme that my partner deleted her Facebook account as a result.

Deleting Accounts 
That was her personal decision and was probably equally motivated by a desire to kick a very 2007 habit into touch (I know many others who have cancelled their MySpace account just because they had lost interest). Those social networking sites I’m still on are pretty locked down privacy wise but I’m not naive enough to think that whatever scant personal data is there won’t be harvested for targeting adverts. An awful lot of the Internet is advert supported and if you’re using a proprietary computer operating system owned by a large corporation you may find that you usage habits and installed data details are sent back to the software makers for the purposes of research and development.

Scare Stories and Common Sense 
Most of the scare stories concerning Facebook obviously centre around the potential for identity theft, whether in whole or for the purposes of gaining financial loans and credit cards etc and many of the stated cases on the money programme had filled in an awful lot of user data above and beyond what many would consider reasonable such as address, phone number, credit card details etc.

Yes there are many ways to hide your Internet footprint, encrypt your email and data files but few people do this as convenience usually outweighs taking the time to put measures in place in order to minimise the risks.

The farming of personal data is not unique to the Internet but currently getting users to pay for software services in the domestic arena can be like getting blood from a stone and so advertising and data farming frequently subsidises the costs.

All we can do is be sensible about the information we share in it.
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2 thoughts on “Private Technology Public Profile?

  1. I am always lecturing my daughter (she is 19) on the (now what is the word – stupidity is perhaps a little strong) inadvisability of letting it all hang out on Facebook. But she doesn’t listen. But some of the information that she and her friends put up on the site, together with the probably quite real threat re financial and other data, is crazy.

    Anyway I won’t touch Facebook as a point of principle – because I am contrary and hate to do what “everyone” else does. Not really sure why I am here on Blogger really – since everyone also seems to do that these days! But anyway.

    But I do wonder how much information is out there about me – I am not always as careful as I should be and younger people are positively daft about what they reveal online (or what they choose not to keep hidden). It is so hard to remember to be careful when presented with proformas and things. Perhaps it should be a 2008 resolution for me – to think twice before filling things in?

  2. Hi RB-We all leave our footprints in life whether online or offline. I guess it’s just about getting a little smarter online, not filling everything in when not required, not allowing the computer to auto save and auto fill sensitive details or social networking sites to have our credit card details and not accessing this personal stuff on public computers (library, net cafe,work and school) if we don’t know for sure that these details aren’t automatically stored in the cache for the next person to accidentally see.Some of the pesonal info given up by some does seem a tad reckless and with employers now searching online to find what they can about potential employees it may be best to keep some data strictly confined to a very immediate circle of trusted friends only.

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