Term 3 – Week 3 – Online Privacy
People may be leaving Facebook over privacy fears, but let’s face it, social media is here to stay. The worries surrounding being safe Facebook, Google and other social media enterprises is less about concerns about privacy and more about effectiveness. People are leaving Facebook but finding it hard to wipe their data from their page. If you want to give yourself an intriguing (or terrifying) hour or so, have a look at the data that Facebook or Google has on you. Sure, you can choose what your friends can and cannot see about you, but you can’t choose what Facebook does… They see everything!
Personally, I don’t have many deep dark secrets and so I don’t often worry about what I do online being tracked – because it’s all information I’ve chosen to share. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a weird thought and not one that I particularly enjoy, but I continue to check my Facebook almost every day and add to it often. The scary thing is though, Facebook sells our private information that we “give” them for their own profit. Companies pay huge amounts of money for this information, so they know exactly who to target with their advertisements, and what to target them with!
There is no denying that Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony started something a few years ago, as there has been a string of people closing their Facebook accounts since. However, there have also been a lot of stories about how hard it is to wipe your record even if you do close your account. At the time this happened people started claiming Facebook was going downhill, but it turned out to just be a bump in the road for them and they are now more popular than ever. However, it did make people think more about privacy.
But it’s not just Facebook. Those with a Google account can see exactly where they have been almost every day for the past year or so. For example, it can see you got the bus to go for lunch with a mate in Auckland one morning, the amount of time you took to get there and back, and the corner of the street where you ate. Even if you get rid of ALL these accounts, your phone tracks this information too. Who receives that information? Apple! Samsung! Huawei! MORE companies. More people who can sell this information, our information.
Like I said, social media is here to stay. You cannot get the toothpaste back in the tube. But when social media exists as it does today, our privacy is at risk. The market giants are too powerful. We need to combat this, or we may as well write a letter to ‘The Internet’ every evening telling them exactly what we ate, drank, did and said that day!
In the meantime, these are my top tips for staying safe online:
- Keep Personal Information Professional and Limited.
- Keep Your Privacy Settings On.
- Practice Safe Browsing.
- Make Sure Your Internet Connection is Secure.
- Be Careful What You Download.
- Choose Strong Passwords.
- Make Online Purchases from Secure Sites.
- Be Careful What You Post.
- If this line of argument is right, what are the implications for society?
- What would be a solution for this problem? (Other than banning social media!)
- Who is responsible for this issue in the first place and who is responsible for solving it?
Practical Thinking Questions:
- Do you think this is an issue? Do you think it can be solved?
- How can you help protect your privacy online in the future? What can you do about your private information being shared in the past?
- Search up someone you don’t know online. See what you can find out about them without being “friends”.