Protect Your Privacy

As you already know, emerging media and technology is all around us. On a daily basis most of us use some form of technology/ emerging media whether it is an ATM machine, an automated payment kiosk, social media sites or mobile devices. All of these technologies have made our lives considerably easier but they have also created new ways for marketers and companies to invade our privacy. It seems like every day there is a story in the news about an internet security breech or an invasion of privacy perpetrated by a large company. Earlier this year was the whole Target security breech happened and back in 2013, luxury retailer Nordstrom found itself in hot water for using WiFi to spy on its shoppers. Through the use of sensors, Nordstrom was able to monitor which department a particular shopper visited and determine how long they remained in the department. Talk about an invasions of privacy!!

As emerging media and technology become more and more a part of our society, questions regarding privacy and security will continue to be raised.  How does one remain safe online? How does one keep their personal information out of the hands of companies? How does one prevent their every move from being tracked by companies? These are just a few of the many questions that we will have to answer as emerging media occupies a larger space in our society. Luckily, there has already been a lot of discussion on this topic and many internet security analysts have come up with ways to protect ones privacy while using emerging media technologies.

Below are 6 tips that I have found, that I think that particularly helpful when it comes to protecting one’s privacy online.

 

  • Do not give out your personal information to just anyone online.

You wouldn’t walk up to a complete strange on the street and give them your personal information, would you, so don’t do it online? Be wary of giving out personal information to companies who you do not initiate contact with. Be sure you know who you are dealing with and how your personal information will be used.

  • Be mindful of the pictures you post on social networking sites and who you tag in your pictures .

Many of us don’t think twice when we post a picture to our Facebook or Instagram accounts, but we should. Location tracking software records the location the picture was taken and posts that information along with the picture when the information is loaded onto the site. Depending how regularly you post, your followers (individual and companies) are able to keep track of your location via the geo-tags on your pictures. Companies (in particular) and then use this information to sell your products that may be relevant to your location.

Also, be mindful of who you tag in pictures and comments. Particularly on Instagram, many companies create contests that require entrants to post picture and tag the company in the caption. When you do this, the company is then able to see the picture. Keep in mind, companies can use these pictures to gather you user name to be used in later marking initiatives

  • Don’t just connect to anybody’s WiFi.

Free WiFi is a convenience that many of us cherish but we should be mindful of accessing personal information over public wireless networks. Before purchasing that new pair of shoes with you credit card or filling out an application be sure that you connection is secure and that your information will be protected. Not only can using unsecured connections allow your information to “leak” onto the internet but they also leave you vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

  • Read a site’s Privacy Policies before you give them any personal information.

A sites’ privacy policy can be an invaluable tool when trying to protect your privacy while online. According to the FTC, a sites’ privacy policy can, “…tell you how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects; how it uses the information, and whether it provides information to third parties.” While you should check ever site’s privacy policy, be particularly mindful of social networking site and banking sites.

  •  Be mindful of you internet usage at work 

This one sounds like a no brainer. Employers are notorious for monitoring their employee’s online activities. Although most companies are only concerned with their employee’s internet activates if they are inappropriate or unprofessional, companies still have the ability and right to track, store and monitor their employee’s internet activities. With that being said one should be mindful of what they say or what information is shared over the internet while at work. Avoid checking back accounts, logging into social media accounts or accessing credit card sites while at work. Also, avoid discussing personal matters with family and friends through work email. Companies are able to see this information and such information could possibly be used against a person in the future.

  • Consider having a “clean” email address.

A “clean” email address is one that is used during online activities such as participating in chat rooms or posting to websites and online forums. Often spammers collect email address from these types of sites and use them in later marketing campaigns. Using a “clean” address prevents spammers from having access to your main email account. It also helps to protect your identity online.

 

What are some other tips that readers should be aware of as it pertains to ones protecting privacy while online?

 

 

 

 

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