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Surrendering Our Privacy

July 25, 2011

Surrendering Our Privacy:

Given that the internet has now created this enabling digital echo system that many of us have been sucked into out of convenience or necessity, are we the users really thinking about the privacy concerns associated with such access?

Often, we are placing too much information online, especially in social networks, which now becomes searchable by others for the purpose of identity theft (or other crimes) or so that online retailers and vendors can target our subconscious buying appetite in he hopes of us purchasing their products. Remember, anything we post online is public and permanent, and there is no better example of this than the Senator Anthony Weiner fiasco in the United States, where his “private” sext messages on Twitter became public, which ultimately cost him his job.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/anthony-weiner-announces-resignation-congress-183554384.html

With the recent Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal in Great Britain, which exposed how easy it is to hack into cell phone answering services if not properly protected:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018510/Phone-hacking-scandal-Rupert-Murdoch-slammed-police-chief-Sir-Hugh-Orde.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Combined with the recent news of Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Windows Live Hotmail being hacked, it makes me wonder why people are not taking more care as to what they are sending and posting online, given that these free web based email programs (or any others) are extremely vulnerable. Just ask Vanessa Hudgens whose nude photos were hacked from her web based email account and then posted online for all to see:

http://www.dailyfill.com/The-Most-Notorious-Celebrity-Photo-Scandals-94705/

or Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account that was hacked and totally taken over:

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1842097,00.html

We need to be more alive to the fact that what we post online is not necessarily going to stay private or secure, but because the internet has become so enabling, it has created this disinhibition effect where we forget this important rule, and freely share information or pictures about ourselves not thinking about the consequences.

We have now also learned from the Wall Street Journal, that many of the most popular websites and apps that are frequented and used by you and I, are also keeping track of who we are and what we are doing for the purposed of selling this information to online vendors, who will then target our wants and needs online.

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/what-they-know-digital-privacy.html

Just recently I read a book written by Scott Cleland called, “Search and Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc.”

This is a must-read book that will give the reader a huge insight into what Google is doing, and how they (and others) are data mining what we are doing online. As an example, the below noted graph is just a snap shot of what Google is collecting about us:

Again, remember that anything that we post online, or even do online, is public and permanent. Online data mining businesses are becoming a multi-billion dollar industry whose goal is to create a “digital dossier” on each one of us that can now be sold to on-line vendors for a profit.

The collection of our personal and private information is the new online cash cow. It’s not only that business financially profiting from what we are doing and posting online, but so is the criminal element. Remember that we too have a part to blame in this privacy concern given that many of us freely share personal information online, especially in social networks that should not be shared.

Digital Food For Thought

Darren Laur

AKA #thewhitehatter

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