It’s My Life

Can we change who we are?

When commenting on someone’s discussion forum I was reminded of a privacy issue around personal information online.  Basically, there was a ruling in the European Court of Justice that determined that personal information must be deleted if it “appear[s] to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).  In a nutshell this means that if you had an affair 10 years ago that was revealed online, or had declared bankruptcy 15 years ago, or been caught doing drugs and had posted it on Facebook Google had an obligation to delete the link according to the above criteria.  BUT, it was not required to remove the information.  Therefore if someone looked hard enough, they would be bound to find it (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).

This raises some very interesting issues for me especially in the interest I’ve developed in personal branding.  I’ve spoken before about honesty and the importance of truth with personal branding and therefore it might seem logical to think I have everyone has a right to know everything about you.  I also firmly believe though, that everyone deserves a second chance.  I think you’d be very hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t done something in the past that they regretted; luckily for me the majority of it was pre-internet.

Most recently here in Canada there was a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was decided that Google must remove search items globally when it has been decided in Canada that they are in breach of an injunction.  In this case, a company which manufactured something was suing a distribution company, claiming that the distribution company had stolen their technology, copied the product and was selling it as its own.  The manufacturing company argued that if the distribution company was only prevented from marketing in Canada then the theft would be ongoing and the Supreme Court agreed saying that it was not in breach of freedom of speech regulation (http://www.businessinsider.com/google-must-remove-worldwide-search-results-says-top-canada-court-2017-6).

There are far too many issues here to cover adequately within one blog, although I’m going to attempt to draw a conclusion here.  From right to privacy, to an internet without borders (who polices the internet???), to personal and corporate honesty there is the potential for great harm to come to both individuals and honest companies.  So perhaps we should try and keep it simple and although I’m not religious, I feel that this is perhaps the simplest and best conclusion I can arrive at: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What do you think?  Should our mistakes from the past continue to haunt us?  Or should we get a second chance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  To find out more about your rights with your personal history online, check out my blog by clicking here. #privacy #google

  To read more about personal privacy online click here to read my blog “It’s My Life” or check out @privacyforum.

Turnstyle: WI-FI Marketing

Thank you for accessing our free WI-FI using your Facebook/Twitter account.
We know exactly who you are… and what you like… and where you go.

Your online personalized experience waits but two things need to be considered: consent and privacy.

Turnstyle: WI-FI Marketing via social media account access

This new tool, Turnstyle, is appealing to any business that wants to personalize their client’s experience, build their social media presence and encourage loyalty using technology instead of plastic loyalty cards/paper coupons.

Clients can log into a company’s WI-FI using their social media account in place of an assigned password. From this single sign-in the client is consenting to sign-up for this personalized experience and disclose their personal information to create that experience.

Image of a cell phone, login page for Free Wifi

Turnstyle Website

This personalized experience could include messages (via SMS, Twitter, Email) pushed-out to clients when they enter a “Hot Spot” location and again when they leave the location to ask for feedback on their experience. What a great concept for businesses, but what about their clients?

Terms of Service: fast scroll down, scroll down, scroll down… break (catch breath) … fast scroll down and consent.

Does anyone actually ever read those terms and conditions? Get your binoculars out to read the small font, 10 page terms in order to access free WI-FI at your local café or restaurant.

The Turnstyle terms of service are actually only 5 pages single spaced = 16 sections = 2611 words.

Oops! You just agreed to give them access to your social media account and signed-up for marketing pushes via SMS/Twitter/Email…

HAHAHA you thought you scored free WI-FI.

Privacy: Is this allowed? Well, you did agree to it.

There are a few methods to login to access free WI-FI via Turnstyle, but the most encouraged methods are Facebook/ Twitter.

In Section 2 of the Terms and Conditions, by agreeing, you allow the company access to your social media account when you login using Facebook/ Twitter:

“By authorizing Turnstyle to access your Facebook account, you hereby grant Turnstyle access to certain information in your Facebook profile, including but not necessarily limited to: basic information including (but not limited to) age, birthdate, name, gender, location, email address; extended profile information including (but not limited to) events, check-ins, “likes”, interests, friends, friends of friends, groups, etc.; and, other information which the OAuth procedure allows Turnstyle to access. By authorizing Turnstyle to access your Twitter account, you hereby grant Turnstyle access to certain information in your Twitter profile, including but not necessarily limited to: screen name, name, location, profile picture; and, other information which the OAuth procedure allows Turnstyle to access.” Turnstyle, Terms of Service.

The Turnstyle dashboard can collect the following information for companies to make their marketing campaigns more personalized:

– Overall foot traffic
– New visitors
– Returning visitors
– Outside opportunity
– Repeat distribution
– Gender
– Age
– Network trends
– Visit duration
– Social Wi-Fi users
– Favourite colour of underwear

That last one was a joke, but seriously… do you think your privacy is worth getting a personalized experience?

Turnstyle, Terms of Service. Website: https://getturnstyle.com/terms-of-service/

Turnstyle, WI-FI Analytics. Website: https://getturnstyle.com/features/wi-fi-analytics/

Twitter Turnstyle WI-FI Marketing #subwayknowswhatyouatelastsummer

facebook Did you know they are accessing your social media account when you login using Facebook/Twitter to get free WI-FI?  #turnstylewifimarketing #subwayknowswhatyouatelastsummer 

What does my Instagram account say about me, and why does it matter?

My Instagram account is looking pretty slim lately.  I try not to overwhelm my social media feeds with pictures of my 1-year-old, even as though he’s clearly the most adorable human to ever walk the Earth.  Instead, I post pictures of images captured on my daily commute.  I didn’t create them, and they’re never staged, all I do is share with what speaks to me with the world.  I’d never call my self an artist, but I would say that I’m a decent curator of guerrilla art.

So, what’s the problem with that?  Nothing… as far as I knew.  I thought that this was an innocuous pass-time until I read about the new “Social Media vetting” involved with crossing the border into the United States.

“If that sort of rule is enacted and they’re required to provide passwords or other things related to their social media, people will really have to start thinking about whether they want to continue to travel across the border”- BCCLA on CBC

It has recently come to light that US border agents can insist that visitors to their country give up their social media passwords (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) so that they can review travelers’ accounts and judge whether they are welcome to enter the country.  If you refuse to offer the passwords, they can refuse you entry into the country, simple as that.

My Instagram account shows that I have pride in civic rebellion, that I’m a left-leaning Canadian woman with Democratic sympathies, I may become a problem for the establishment, I clearly *have* a problem with the establishment, and that I am someone who would definitely be marching in solidarity with US citizens in the next  Women’s March.  And as the US becomes more and more restrictive to people’s liberties, this may limit my ability to visit friends and family in the future.  Even if it doesn’t, my name will most likely be added to a list for future evaluation.

Let’s be honest.  My Instagram account has a much more energetic and optimistic political-life than I do – I’m snapping pictures of art that other people took the time and effort to  create.  Regardless, I now own these messages and everything that they say about me. If the biggest penalty is I can’t add my 70 cents on a US dollar to their economy, I can deal with that.  I recognize that have the privilege to be able to stand by my  beliefs, but it’s just one more thing that makes me want to fight the good fight, you know?

What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Is giving up Social Media passwords a small price to pay for entering an entirely different country, or is it an invasion of privacy?

Twitter: Social media passwords, privacy, and border control. When #BigBrother actually is watching http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg

Facebook: A picture is worth a thousand words, and that might be a problem.  http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg

 

what_is_lovenever_doubtbig_brotherrip_democracyyou_are_a_revolutioninvasive_speciescycle_path

Big Data = Big Problems.

eye

I never know how much stock to put into the whole “Big Brother is Watching You” thing. I mean, that’s the way the internet works.  Facebook and Twitter and Google and… almost every site is tracking my clicks, gathering data for future use.

I consider myself web savvy; I know what sites and emails are safe to visit, and I am even happy to ‘opt in’ to cookies as I prefer targeted advertising over random. I use Facebook and Google extensively, and I know that they need to pay their staff somehow. Besides, it’s not about me – I’m just a statistic, right? A trend line on a graph somewhere.

Maybe not.

According to this recent article on Vice, all of that data that I’ve thoughtfully and thoughtlessly offered up to the world has painted a clear personality profile… not of someone like me, but of ME, myself and I.

This article reads like a left-wing conspiracy theory, but it’s based on facts. To sum it up, a company called Cambridge Analytica  created an algorithm that pulls from a bunch of different sources of online data to build personality profiles of people, and then took the next step:  they associated that personality with the person’s name and address. This information was sold to political parties (ie Donald Trump’s campaign) allowing them to direct targeted advertising, both online and in person.  The data gathered by the algorithms allowed the campaign to determine what each individual wanted to hear on each issue, and delivered that promise. According to the Vice article, this is why so many of Trump’s messages seemed to contradict themselves: because they were specifically targeted to different audiences, each hearing the version that spoke to them.

Now targeted political messaging isn’t new – Justin Trudeau came to BC to speak about tourism, forestry and the Pacific Ocean, he spoke to Energy and job creation in Alberta, and to the Auto manufacturers in Ontario. But this is data-driven personalised marketing so much more elegant – targeted and effective. It doesn’t help that cultivated and curated social media feeds affirming our established beliefs just feed into our narrow world-view bubbles.

So that’s what has been keeping me up at night lately.  What do you think about this use of data collection? Is it an invasion of privacy, or the price we pay for the convenience of our social media feeds?

Twitter: Big Data = Big Problems. The true costs of “free websites”. #socialmedia #privacy http://bit.ly/2liNYoJ

Facebook:  Big Data = Big Problems.  We’re not just a number anymore.  http://bit.ly/2liNYoJ

 

Privacy on social media: advance with caution

cyberbullying-digitalmobbing-06042016-mona-omoore-9-6381

What’s so scary about social media?

Disclaimer: I’m from the predigital age, so a willing spirit and general acceptance of many aspects of our wired world don’t come easily. I don’t trust the technology, don’t always believe what online tools and content are telling me and remain convinced that it will fail me when I need it most.

My greatest concerns centre around privacy and personal security — not just for myself but for the younger generations of social media users who don’t have my wary skepticism.

Consider this sobering statement published by the Houston Chronicle, from a blog post about privacy issues  that targets small business operators: “The information you put online stays online — often, even after you have removed it.” No room for human error there!!

But this is the world we live in, and I know I need to come to terms with it. Diving in and getting educated seems the best way to proceed.

Privacy concerns and expectations

Social media use opens the door to potential abuse of privacy (and sometimes personal security) in three main areas: identity, reputation, health and well-being.

Identity

Examples of identity theft abound, with the ways it can happen growing exponentially every day. The RCMP has noted that much of the information needed to electronically steal personal identity is posted by the individual who is being robbed. Beware the “fun” quiz! It means you’re providing on insecure social networking pages details about your full name, date of birth, address, even the location of childhood homes and your pets’ names.

Reputation

As Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy warns: “Once information or a status is posted, it is no longer in our control… Information can be transmitted on the Internet in a variety of forms, potentially for a very long time.” The website content explains how deleting a personal post on Facebook or taking down an album of digital images doesn’t mean that content is gone from public view. Many websites keep a record of what has been posted on their sites, and outdated content may reappear through web searches and other means well after the user has attempted to delete it. This is especially true if others who saw the posting copied and stored it, and then decide to recirculate it later.

Imagine the impact this has when a rant you wrote in your younger years – or worse, a drunken party photo – emerges later, when the potential employer who you’d really like to impress does an online search before inviting you for a job interview!

Health and well-being

If your home is your castle, then home security surely contributes to your mental health and overall sense of well-being. How sad is it that a website sprang up a few years ago to educate people about how vulnerable their homes are to theft when they post their location on social media? Fittingly, the website is called pleaserobme.com. Pretty much everything you do on social media leaves a trail of some sort, and can inform criminal types about the many ways they can take advantage.

On a more serious note, there’s cyberbullying. The tragic stories of vulnerable teens who took their own lives after experiencing relentless cyberbullying point to the potential negative consequences of unregulated social media use. The deaths of Amanda Todd (2012), of Port Coquitlam, BC, Rehtaeh Parsons (2013) of Dartmouth, NS, and in 2016 the suicide deaths of five Woodstock, Ont., young people were widely reported on all media platforms. Some people blame social media for this alarming trend.

Of course, adults can be bulschwartz-monica-lewinsky-and-shame1-1200lied or shamed too, with similar blows to their mental health as a result. See Monica Lewinsky’s famous TED talk about her experiences with former US President Bill Clinton for more on that…
Photo: From TED Talk visual, reprinted in The New Yorker

Protect yourself

So as I see it, there’s plenty to be worried about when you venture into online social networking and social media use. The bottom line seems to be ‘protect yourself.’ Get informed about the tools, the ways they can be used and misused, take the time to ensure you’ve done everything you can to protect your own privacy and limit the amount of information you’re sharing.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has some tips and resources, as do provincial counterparts. Be prepared to follow up and report any activity you think is inappropriate or suspicious.

And wide public discussion, information-sharing and advocacy seem to be part of the solution — ironically, especially effective when done via social media!

Thoughts, anyone?

 

 

 

Com0011- 2016: A Look Ahead in Social Media

The Holiday season is fast approaching and many top ten lists for this past year and predictions for 2016 are flooding in.

Social media is ever evolving. Nothing stays the same as new start-ups are always trying to be the next Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

While I am not a mind reader, and can’t predict everything on this world, I can perhaps offer a glimpse of what the next twelve months may hold in social media. As you enjoy your mistletoe with your loved ones, or some candy cane hot chocolate, or volunteering at your local favorite charity, here is where I see the social media landscape going in 2016, in terms of tech trends, influences on the economy, and society.

3428921418_b9f94dc7b8_z

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved

 

  1. Even more video social media content; creating new economic opportunities: This was one of the big things talked about in social media circuits in 2014 and 2015. This was the year where video content on social media outlets grew. Nowadays it seems there is almost a 45-55 split in video to regular posts (my own estimation here). Twitter is now bombarded with video tweets. Expect this trend to continue as more social media outlets, as video content slowly becomes the main source of posts. Don’t be surprised if there is new economic opportunities explored from new social video media content. I can’t say where it will happen, it just will.
  2. Mainstream media will fall further behind social media on big Breaking news: This is a foregone conclusion. While major news networks like CNN, and CBC News Network still run the TV media show, its social media that will break away from traditional media when breaking events occur. Tweets, video Facebook posts of the latest disaster, or ending to a major international sporting event will become to go to source for those who are not at a tv, or just want additional commentary on the event. This will only provide bigger headaches for traditional media who are scratching their head somewhat in taming the social media beast.
  3. Internet of Things and social media become more and more tied at the hip You know when you have the social media industries attention when one of the top social media authorities suggest “IoT devices will unleash a new wave of internet based services, in ways we can’t foresee- much like the way the smartphone came along and changed the world of computing,” is words to chew on. After all, a $19 trillion of wealth may come from IoT, and social media is going to cash in or, at least play a supporting role. I would expect to hear more social media companies investing into IoT, like Facebook, Twitter, or Periscope. Who will be the Facebook or Apple of the IoT industry in 2016? Stay tuned.
  4. Privacy Vs. Transparency: I could see this story further unfolding on two levels: The corporate and personal. On the good side, using social media and the Internet has changed the dynamics of how we look at many multinational corporations, making them more transparent. However, on the flipside, more and more we are seeing those same corporations using social media to “spy” on potential employees. While some of it is just, and people should have some basic common sense when using Facebook (i.e. Don’t put any dumb nut pictures of yourself from the bar the night before), its also blurring lines on what people should post in on their Facebook accounts. Personally, I can see this trend continuing as more and more possible job seekers will get angrier, wondering why they are not being called back for interviews. At the same time, corporation’s questionable practices will be put further to the test under the public court of social media opinion.

Well It’s almost been a slice this year. What social media trends do you see breaking out next year? What is one trend that may flop? Is video the wave of the social media future? As potential candidates should employers look at your Facebook page and dismiss your resume? Will IoT be further integrated with social media in 2016?

Those questions I leave you with. Have a great holiday.

 

Personal Privacy in the Online World

Friends and colleagues raised their eyebrows in something between surprise and bemusement when I told them I enrolled in a social media program. I’ve already confessed, in this very forum, to being a social media neophyte; but the reason for this is more than just being (a little) older and perhaps (a little) behind the times: I’m a fiercely private person.

Wikipedia marks 2006 as the year Facebook broke onto the Canada / US scene in a major way. But it was another two years before I had my own account on what had quickly become the most important social networking platform among my peers. And I didn’t even create it! Utterly astonished I didn’t have my own Facebook account my old university roommate created one for me and established my first few connections. My Twitter and LinkedIn accounts came many years later and were born of professional necessity than any real desire to reach out and communicate with someone.

This isn’t about being an introvert – no one, not even the popular personality profiler Myers Briggs – would accuse me of such. I suppose it’s one part shyness about announcing things to the world with reckless abandon, and 99 parts the belief that the fabulous new crème brulée recipe I found are best shared directly with the two or three people who may really be interested in it. Social media was for attention seekers, I concluded, and I blush when people sing Happy Birthday to me.

If you, too are in this program to improve your social media skills and raise your professional profile but are feeling a little shy about it all, we’re in good company – the 102,000 self-help / how-to hits I got from Googling “overcoming shyness in social media” tells me so. But I have found an approach to it all I think I can manage: If you’re uncomfortable with the spotlight, shine the light on others. In “Shy of the Social Media Spotlight? Get Over It” (Harvard Business Review, 2012), Dorie Clark points out that more than an online soapbox, social media can be “… an opportunity to raise the discourse, focus on meaningful ideas, and draw attention to worthy people and causes…”.

So… other people’s birthdays? I think I can live with that.

Every move you make, every step you take, they’ll be watching you on social media

Lesson five talks about future trends in social media to look out for, two being “wearable technology” and another being “big data.” Because of these two, privacy is a huge concern to those online.

“Privacy (which has always been a major concern in social circles) is taking on a heightened level of importance for people. From the EU/UK cookie legislations, which require website owners to disclose the use of tracking cookies on their website, to the controversy over the NSA in the US monitoring online conversations that came to light in 2013, people are more concerned than ever about personal privacy as more and more of our lives are lived online,” the readings states.

In my case, I try not to post too much personal information on social media channels and consciously don’t leave an electronic trail of where I am or who I’m with or what I’m doing. The Facebook “Check In” feature? Never used it. In fact I still have the same Facebook photo that I’ve used since I signed up years ago, and have never posted a status update, nor commented or “Liked” anything on Facebook. Similarly, I didn’t get a Twitter account until last year, when I was on a sabbatical and had the account locked down so that only my family and friends, people I actually talked to regularly, could follow me.

For someone in the media, I know I shouldn’t be averse to social media, but the privacy angle gets me all the time. I don’t really want my private life and every aspect of it to be broadcast on social media, and I certainly don’t want to be checking all the social media feeds 24/7, but I feel I have to in order to really succeed in today’s news industry. I had a job interview once and the employer asked me why I wasn’t on social media. My reply: because I struggle with the personal side of it. I feel authenticity counts for so much when doing social media well (because why else would anyone want to follow me?!), but at the same time I still want to preserve some privacy. I feel it’s all or nothing because it’s tough to do both!

On top of that, I don’t really want these social media outlets to gather all this data on me and use it for some other purpose. The movie Terms and Conditions May Apply outlines this so well. We live in such a connected world now that we don’t even stop to read what we’re agreeing to online when we sign up for things, especially social media platforms. I know it is not all for nefarious purposes, but the Google Ads that show up on a site after I’ve searched for something already creep me out… I don’t want to give more information about myself willingly and so freely on social media outlets. And therein lies my love/hate relationship with social media. I do enjoy using them for personal and work purposes, to keep in touch with people, to learn new information… but the lack of privacy is so difficult to come to terms with. I do have a public Twitter account now, though, so there has been some reluctant ‘progress’ on my part to join this fascinating world! 🙂

Blog Assignment #1 (COM0011) Post #3: Cyberbullying and the Law

Keyboard-with-handcuffsCanada is among the world leaders of internet use and social media penetration in the world. According to recent studies, 86% of Canadians use the Internet and 91% of Canadian Internet users have a social media account.

As the Internet and social media become more prevalent in people’s everyday lives, it’s opened up a Pandora’s box of cybercrimes such as computer hacking, online fraud, identity theft, cyber terrorism, online sexual exploitation, physical violence and sexual assault. While Canada has taken steps to confront cybercrimes, the breakneck pace of technological advancements and the cross-border nature of many online crimes will require new policing measures to keep pace with internet-related crimes.

The examples of cybercrimes given may seem to be in obvious conflict with the law, however other – more subtle – crimes are quickly emerging. One example is cyberbullying. While bullying is hardly a new problem, in today’s online world the seriousness and potential harm caused by bullying can escalate rapidly.

Unlike other forms of bullying, the harassment, humiliation, intimidation and threatening of others through cyberbullying occurs 24 hours a day. It is relentless and aggressive, reaching kids at the dinner table while sitting with their parents, or in the privacy of their bedroom. There is no safe zone.

As a tragic response to online bullying, there’s been a number of teen suicides across Canada: from 14 year old Amanda Todd in Port Coquitlam, BC (2012) to 15 year old Todd Loik in North Battleford, Saskatchewan (2013) to 15 year old James Hubley in Ottawa, Ontario (2011) all the way to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where 17 year old Rehtaeh Parson died a few days after attempting suicide on April 4, 2013.

McLeans - Cyber Bullying in Canada

But cyberbullying isn’t just a problem for kids, adults can be bullies too. According to Statistics Canada, 7% of Canadian adults experience some form of online bullying. Examples aren’t hard to come by. In 2009, an Ottawa restaurant owner began an online hate campaign against a dissatisfied customer which included impersonating the victim and sending sexually explicit e-mails. In 2013, a group of mothers in Arizona created a Facebook group to bash pictures of babies toddlers. In 2014, an Ottawa man was charged after a decade-long, cross border campaign of harassment and cyberbullying against 38 people.

According to Get Cyber Safe – national public awareness campaign created to educate Canadians about Internet security –  the following cyber-related offences could be charged:

  • Criminal harassment
  • Uttering threats
  • Intimidation
  • Mischief in relation to data
  • Unauthorized use of a computer
  • Identity fraud
  • Extortion
  • False messages, indecent or harassing telephone calls
  • Counseling suicide
  • Incitement of hatred
  • Child pornography
  • Defamatory libel

However, while measures are already in place to tackle cyber-bullying, some claim it’s not enough. The federal government has addressed these concerns with Bill C-13 – the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act – which comes into force on March 9, 2015.

It’s hard not to applaud efforts to address the problem of cyberbullying and give police greater powers to fight cybercrime. There is no doubt that Canada’s Criminal Code needed to be modernized for the digital age to protect Canadians from online predators and exploitation. However, many believe Bill C-13 is part of a larger agenda aimed at increasing the surveillance powers of police while impinging on Canadians’ fundamental right to privacy using tragic suicide cases as a guise for pushing a broader agenda.

With the March 9 deadline soon approaching, how do you feel about cyberbullying, privacy rights and Bill C-13?

“We should not have to choose between our privacy and our safety.”
– Carol Todd (Amanda Todd’s mother)
Visit the following links to learn more about Bill C-13:

Have you or someone you care about suffered from cyberbullying?

Don’t suffer in silence, talk to a friend or family member and get help now.

Learn more about Cyber-Bullying, the Law and What You Can Do:

Need help right now? Call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

Getting to know you…Getting to know ALL about YOU!

Personal privacy is something most people have thought about at one time or another. Growing up this meant ensuring the lock on my diary was secured and the key safely stored. In today’s environment keeping things secure ranges from proper disposal of paper correspondence and records, to taking care of my presence online.

privacy keyWhat people are prepared to share online is as individual as their profiles. Like many, I am concerned about my presence and appropriate ‘sharing’ online. Increasingly we see the impact of what we share or do online, as well as how easy it is to learn about people with a few keystrokes. Consider the reactions of the people in this BuzzFeed video when they are confronted with details that have been learned about them after a little bit of online research.

Even if you do what you think is best to keep your online identity in check, Neil J. Rubenking’s February 2014 PC Mag article recommends reviewing your settings from time to time to confirm that they are still applicable. However, not all the information learned about us is as the result of our conscious sharing.

In her article “All Eyes on You”, Jennifer Golbeck, PhD. details the types and ways information is collected about us, often without our knowledge. In doing so, these ‘back-end’ processes learn more about us than we may appreciate. When you think about it, collecting personal data isn’t really all that new. Did you shop in a store this week? Most if not all bricks and mortar retail outlets monitor and record customers through close circuit video surveillance and regularly track habits and interests through purchasing preferences. But what about our online behaviour?   In her 2013 TED Talk, Golbeck explains how our actions in digital spaces are used to help determine things about us and in some ways predict what we do in the future. Big brother doesn’t appear to ever really sleep.

privacy cartoon

Increasingly we are learning how what we considered some randomly posted information is now available for all to see, read, infer and share. From the retweeting of personal photographs to closed communities on Facebook, the general public is learning a lot more about others than they might have ever been interested. The internet is a VERY public space and one where keeping things private means keeping them to yourself, or as Goldbeck suggests we can choose to just “get over it”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLWmjpPoJHk

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2453770,00.asp

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201408/all-eyes-you

https://www.ted.com/speakers/jennifer_golbeck