Privacy Awareness Week

It’s Privacy Awareness Week (I know no-one said, that’s because it’s private).

Here are the top tips they are giving out:
1.Know the privacy policy and settings of the social networking sites you use
2.Think about the information you share and how it’s being used, eg, what might a future employer or partner think if they read it?
3.Remember, the internet lets your information be collected and shared easily. The harmless information you post could be added to the mix, creating a full profile about you. Who might see it?
4.Sharing information with just a few people doesn’t stop it reaching a wider audience; be aware who might pass things on
5.Before you post and tag pictures of someone else, ask for their consent – and request that they do the same to you
6.Set up ‘friend’ groups to control the access different people in your life have to your personal details
7.Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
8.Location based check-ins can be risky. Do you really want everyone to know that no-one’s home?

Most are sensible, others are a bit panicky.

Remember again the words of Dave Eggars – If you don’t want anyone to know about your existence, you might as well kill yourself. You’re taking up space, air.


Facebook and privacy … around and around and around

When it comes to privacy, Facebook seems to have developed a program of responding to users’ concerns after the fact. Whilst I commend their desire to innovate and deliver new services to their users, a little forethought wouldn’t go astray. This infographic from Mashable says it nicely. Click on the image to enlarge.

Facebook and privacy

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More on Facebook privacy

What is all this hullabaloo over Facebook and privacy? Want to find out? Hear from the people on the inside (including Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president), as well as a few tech experts. You can watch the full interview which appeared on PBS, read the transcript, or even listen to the MP3.

Concerned about facebook Privacy?

  • The social and moral panic over facebook seems to never end. Considering that now 7 million Australians, that’s a third of us, are subscribers it is not surprising that there are some issues and safety worries. However, considering its size, there are actually very few really bad things that have happened there. If 7 milion of us were out in a public place together you could be sure there would be far more actual danger.

There is danger in all human transactions, but at least in the online world we can limit our exposure to the dangerous. We can do that by use of the available tools out there. And if you can’t manage the privacy settings on social media websites, maybe you shouldn’t be on social media.
But anyway, luckily there is now a service for facebook users that will do it for you at:


facebook has redone its privacy settings so there should not be the problems that some users were worried about.

The founder of facebook in a piece for the Washington Post  has also stated:

Here are the principles under which Facebook operates:

  • You have control over how your information is shared.
  • We do not share your personal information with people or services you don’t want.
  • We do not give advertisers access to your personal information.
  • We do not and never will sell any of your information to anyone.
  • We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone.

The problem of what to share and how to share it is resolved as far as facebook is concerned. The responsibility of how you use your content and who you choose to share it with is yours. As in anything reasonable precautions need to be taken.

Privacy 2.0

You’ve heard it all before: there’s a fine balance to be struck between sharing personal information and oversharing information that might put you at risk.

A large proportion of people use social media and, in doing so, give up some degree of their privacy. But is is a choice. In return for giving their information to a website/organisation, they get something in return – a service, the ability to see what other people have shared and to continue sharing information with others as freely, or as restricted, as they choose. Well, that’s the theory – of course this is somewhat dependent on the terms and conditions written into the service that you’re using. The Economist points out that there is a continued tension between the service provider (for example, Facebook) and their users in what kinds of information should be available and to whom (to only certain people selected by the user, to only friends, to friends of friends, to external application providers etc).

Over on the Facebook blog, there’s an interesting piece with snippets from a range of privacy professionals from around the globe that is well worth a read.

If you’re concerned about your privacy, and where your online information is going, look for the terms and conditions on their site or contact the service provider directly and, while you’re at it, check out the Australian Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s website which has some great information about your rights and private information.

On privacy

Where do you draw the line on privacy in a social media age? In the US, there is growing concern about what kinds of information the CIA might be collecting about it’s citizens who use various social media tools. There is even a court case in the works which is seeking to encourage the US Government to disclose just what information it is collecting and how this affects a person’s right to privacy. Information shared on social media sites have been used in criminal investigations. Recently, information shared on Facebook led to the arrest of a man who made death threats aginst the son of Columbian President Alvaro Uribe.

No matter what side of the law you fall on, users need to be aware that the information they share can be accessed by a range of people and may be used in ways they never intended. Depending on how comfortable you are with the information you’re sharing, you may want to share a little or a lot … like this couple in the US who stopped mid wedding ceremony to update their Twitter and Facebook statuses. Don’t believe me? Watch the video on YouTube!

Also in the works is a new camera device which a user wears and takes a picture every 30 seconds. Read what Mashable‘s Pete Cashmore has to say on this “life logging” device and the implications for privacy and social media over at CNN.