Mind Your Business: Why You Should Be Paying Attention

Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not yet think that there is a reason for them to be concerned about their “privacy” online. Some don’t consider it at all, and others believe they don’t need to be concerned because “if you don’t want it online then just don’t post it”.

But it’s not only photos of your latest weekend debauchery that you need to be concerned with. User pictures have been used in singles ads and other types of ads, snatched off their Facebook profiles by third party apps. So that perfectly decent picture of you that you consciously decided to post? Now it’s showing up to millions of people as a member of some dating service you’ve never even heard of. Concerned yet? Others have continued to track your web activity long after you stopped using the app and even after you left Facebook. You might not have posted on Facebook about your male pattern baldness, but suddenly you’re getting served ads for Rogaine when you’re logged into your email account. Paying attention? You should be.

Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as calling his users “dumb f**ks” for trusting him and Eric Schmidt, former Google chief executive, has described Google policy as getting “right up to the creepy line, just not crossing it“. Yet we blindly believe there are measures in place to protect our private information and activities, when there are little. In the real world, if someone was tracking your every move they would need warrants issued by a judge, and evidence to justify doing so. Online, however, you “accept the Terms of Service” without reading them and assume you’re covered.

Think very carefully about the sites you sign up for and the type of information you provide. Even if you read their privacy policy beforehand, don’t misunderstand, they can change that policy whenever they want and your information will be exposed. Recently, Facebook removed a feature that allowed you to hide from results when someone searches for your name. Facebook also will be making some changes to attempt to make it easier to control your profile information and media, however I think the smartest way to make things easier for users would be to stop constantly changing settings, controls, and permissions as soon as users get comfortable with them.

We’re here to help you stay on top of who has access to your stuff. It’s all about being aware and making conscious choices. You should scan all of your social spaces regularly to be aware of changes and make decisions instead of mistakes in regard to who you trust with your information online.

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