Archive for private data

You Are Sharing More Than You Think On Social Networks

Posted in America, Britain, England, Europe, Human Rights, Mobile Phone, Relationships, Teens, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , on 16/02/2012 by floroy1942

” My dog just crapped on the carpet” or “I woke up with a hangover this morning” are some of the ludicrous messages people share with the world on Facebook or Twitter, and to be honest, who the hell cares! Internet social sites have become a disease in today’s fast-moving world, and few people seem to be immune. But unknown to most, there are dangers in broadcasting to the world your daily life.

It has been revealed that most of these sites harvest your  personal information such as your entire address book, complete with names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses without your knowledge. This seems to me a grievous violation of your civil right to privacy. To put it simply, download e.g. the Facebook or Twitter App on your phone, and the company has access to your private data, much of which it stores without your knowledge and consent.

This invasion of privacy is not confined to any one site, but seems to be a universal practice with most, if not all of them. The main culprit seems to be the “Find Friends’ apps that can be downloaded from phone manufacturers like Apple. This company has been criticised by two US Senators who have written to the company asking why this is allowed, considering it is against Apple’s own rules. Company guidelines state:  “Apps that read or write data outside its designated container area will be rejected.” They add: “Apps cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission.” Yea Right!

The excuse used by companies that feature this App say they only use the data to identify friends of the people using the service. Of course, ‘I am sure none of this information gets into the hands of advertising companies who want to send you ads all day long, and most certainly wouldn’t be used for market research’!

Twitter tells users that it “may customize your account with information such as a cellphone number for the delivery of SMS messages or your address book so that we can help you find Twitter users you know” and they inform iPhone users that they will “scan (?) your contacts for people you already know on Twitter”. Right! In today’s high pressure world I find it hard to imagine that is all they do for there is a lot of money to be made selling people’s contact data to advertisers and market research companies.

Are You Sure Its Safe?

Whether they do or not, I for one wouldn’t trust it as far as I can throw a 747. Private data should remain just that, private, and I am all for legislation that will totally outlaw these practices and  make the gathering of personal data illegal without the full prior permission of the user. Ever since the internet came along and greedy individuals found ways to make masses of money from it, our private lives have been in perpetual danger, and no-one is more susceptible to it than the users of Facebook, Twitter, and the like. These social websites have blossomed into multi-billion dollar entities over the past ten years, and there is little sign the pace is slackening.

Roy.

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