Great video by the Brookings Institute that discusses online privacy.
Great video by the Brookings Institute that discusses online 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
So emerging media is supposed to be the next best thing, right? Interactive videos are supposed to revolutionize the way view video content by allowing us to break down the barriers of communication. Social media is supposed to revolutionize how we connect with one another and explore the world around us and interactive websites and advanced search engines are supposed to make searching for information easier than ever before. Together, all of these different forms of media are supposed to help propel society to the next level and usher us into a new age where we are smarter, more skilled researchers and better equipped to analyze the world around us. All of that is fine and great but none of that can happen unless majority of society has access to these tools. We all know that more people than ever are online and have access to the internet. We know that there are 1.85 cells phones in use for every person on the planet (as of 2012). We know that there are 1.4 billion active Facebook users, but do we realize that there are millions people worldwide who don’t have access to the internet. And do we know that a significant portion of those people live right here in the United States. In fact, according to reports 20% of people living in the US live without access to the internet. The majority of those without access are concentrated in the south.
The inability to access to the internet and use emerging forms of media is a real problem for many and one that can have a lasting impact on our society. Not only does a lack of internet access have personal implications (the inability to pay bills online, the inability to conduct research and look up information, the inability to apply for jobs) but it also creates a social and economic divide between those with internet access and those without. Just think about your everyday life and how much you rely on the internet for tasks. Just think, what if you didn’t have access to the internet to apply for a job? Or what if you were unable to apply for financial aid to attend school because you lacked internet access? How would you conduct research on complicated topics? Yes, all of these things can be done in person, however access to the internet allows people to complete these tasks using less time and money that if they had to complete them in person.
“It’s 2014, why would anyone not have access to the internet?” Many may people ask this question. To those of us who are fortunate to have internet access it seems so farfetched that a person would not have internet access but the reality of the situation is that due to costs, location, and availability many people find themselves without access. Of these limitations, cost is the primary factor. The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity writes that there is a strong correlation between poverty and one’s ability to afford internet access. The group found that a family with an income of $15,000 adopted the internet at a 32% rate. Furthermore, the group found that because of a lack of competition, internet provides have little to no incentive to lower internet prices therefore those living in poverty are unable to afford internet access.
If we are going to all progress into this new age where emerging media is king, what can we do to ensure that everyone has access to the internet and to these new technologies? Many cities (Richmond, California, Nashville, Tennessee just to name a few) are implementing programs were free internet access is provided for residents who are unable to afford it. Some places provide mobile internet centers that travel around cities and states providing computers and internet (for temporary use) to those without. Social media tycoons like Mark Zuckerberg and others have discussed programs in which global internet access around the world is expanded. (Check out Google’s Project Loon) I personally think that for two hours a day, internet access should be free for all who are able to connect. Maybe, this is a farfetched idea, I don’t know, but I do know that as the internet and emerging media become more and more important to the functioning of our society, it will become even more imperative that all member of society are able to connect to the internet.
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