Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Protect Your Privacy

"By giving people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent"
- Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook

Within the past decade, the use of the Internet and more specifically, social networking sites, has increased rapidly. In the United States, the internet is readily available and used for multiple purposes. Whether you use the Internet for business, school or personal purposes, you are providing information that can be publicly viewed. The Internet can be very resourceful, however, its users need to be aware of what information they provide and what information will be publicly shared.

In "Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity", Danah Boyd argues:
"There are good reasons to engage in public; there always have been. But wanting to be in public doesn't mean wanting to lose control". I strongly agree with this statement. Engaging in public via the Internet can offer many benefits, such as reconnecting with an old friend, maintaining business relationships, or working with other students from class. However, this does not mean that users want to lose control of their privacy and what information can be made public.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place". I firmly believe that privacy controls should not be removed, and users should have the ability to control what information is publicly displayed. However, I also believe that all users should be aware of what they are posting on the Internet. I would encourage others not to accept the default settings on social media sites, such as Facebook, and instead, take the time to read through them and take control of your privacy.

In order to maintain privacy, users need to be aware of how to change settings to satisfy individual expectations. To maintain privacy on Facebook, become familiar with "10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know".

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy recognizes that privacy is in danger as technology continues to grow at a rapid speed. Information that you input online can be visible to potential employers, school admissions, complete strangers, etc. Privacy is important, and in order to maintain it, individuals need to take additional measures to protect what information can be publicly displayed.


  1. Not accepting the default Facebook settings is probably a very good idea. I forgot what the default is set it, but I do know that I looked through it very carefully at one point and tuned it to my liking. I definitely think people that make their entire Facebook public (feed, pictures, etc.) are not doing enough to protect their own privacy. For example, saying "Going camping for the weekend, bye!" is like saying "I'm away from my house, come rob me" to millions of strangers if you have a public feed.

  2. I agree that people paying attention to the privacy settings on websites they use is a huge part of maintaining privacy on the Internet.

    To slapshot: Facebook's default privacy settings are pretty much non-existent. About the only thing that isn't set to "public" is your address.

  3. Great link regarding Facebook privacy. I feel like people clamor for privacy but don't know how to go about increasing their level of privacy on social networking sites.

    "However, this does not mean that users want to lose control of their privacy and what information can be made public." This is exactly why people need to educate themselves on why not to post certain things online.