Privacy online is an oxymoron. Since the digital age, it seems nearly impossible to erase what was once online or on the computer. The paper trail was much easier to get rid of than the technology trail. Even once the published items are erased and trashed, there are still ways to retrieve information. Husna Najand said it well…what you post publically could come back in the future to haunt you privately and professionally.
This makes me wonder about what we are doing in our coursework online. Will what I say now be misconstrued or misinterpreted out of context in the future? I was almost thankful to see “no results” for my search on Rate My Teacher. But yet I know that when I search for jobs internationally, I looked at ratings of potential schools that interested me. Just as we search online for information, schools/organizations could/would possibly do an online search of potential candidates for school/jobs.
What we do personally can affect us professionally now and in the future. Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com states, “The data keeps getting edited in ways you never expected because the social networks change their rules.”
How many times have Facebook changed their privacy settings since you have signed up? There seems to be new posts from friends and friends of friends to remind us to reconfigure our privacy settings on a regular basis.
What’s disturbingly eerie about online privacy is that you think you have taken proper precautions in regard to your own safety online when someone, somewhere could write a program/application that mashes certain key components from different applications together to make something with ulterior motives to invade your privacy. John Brownlee wrote about Girls Around Me app and how this app mashed up data from Facebook, Foursquare and Google Maps. Individually these three appear harmless on the surface and intent when collecting information for its own use. Together this data threatens one’s safety by revealing too much personal information. We are at companies and software writers trust and mercy. I only hope that they think of their own friends and family when they write programs that could potentially be used in harmful ways. I have high hopes for social media and all things technology to have positive intent and purposes (however, I am not naive and have taken the blindfold off).