Tag Archives: privacy

Email Hack for Dell Customers

We place a lot of our trust in computer manufacturers and web providers, giving them our personal information overtime we use their services. Even if we trust them to not intentionally misuse our information, they are still fallible and open to hackers.

Just yesterday Dell sent out an email to customers admitting that their first and last names and email address may have been exposed to an unauthorised entry into its email services provider Epsilon.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/dell-australia-impacted-by-epsilon-email-breach/story-e6frgakx-1226034878214

It’s terribly unsettling when this happens, and reminds me that it isn’t only Facebook that we have to be concerned about. The lecture on Privacy, Ethics and Reputation was a big wake up call for me, and now this Dell hack has left me equally concerned.

But what choice do we have as individuals? It seems impossible now to shut off from cyberspace, despite our vulnerability and powerlessness. Perhaps the course of action is to be as prudent as possible with the information we disclose, and just hope for the best…

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Snooping or Saving the World?

Start at 0.26 stop at 0.39

Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices.

“When people have control over what they share, they are comfortable with sharing more. When people share more, the world becomes more open and connected. In a more open world, many of the problems that we face together become easier to solve. ”

Zuckerberg’s impassioned (well, the words are at least)  speech about the benefits of Facebook and the new privacy functions is positive, yet bordering idealistic. His optimistic worldview is reluctant to empathise with the vulnerability individuals feel in a world where not having Facebook isn’t really an option, especially among young people.

It is true that a liberalisation of information may help solve many problems, but at what price? The problems of privacy invasion seem more steep for most individuals. For a website the relies on the input and distribution of personal information, it’s clear that they will do anything to beguile us into uploading more of our lives, including making privacy controls easier to use.

Further to that, what world problems are actually being solved by strangers knowing that I like pokemon, or the knowledge that two of my friends supposedly met at an event that they both clicked attending to on Facebook?

Facebook weighs so much into our lives these days and has, as Anne Hill of Huffpost Tech puts it, ” forever altered how we conduct our relationships” (Hill, 2011). Most people feel like pawns in the game that Zuckerberg is playing, as we follow along blindly as he makes changes to the way we interact with people and groups on Facebook. A good example of this is the recent changes to groups; it may be for the better, but it has exposed to me to the enormous way in which Facebook is capable of changing our everyday lives. Not only that, but it is argued that the new group format is designed mainly as a better way of tracking our relationships with other members, that the company will thus “use your behavior in Groups to better understand these relationships.” (Van Grove, 2010). This opens up a whole other host of privacy issues, as Facebook may attempt to sell this inexplicit information to advertisers and other companies.

Either way, I think it’s still possible to use the social networking site to your best advantage, as long as you really do take control over what you share. Guides such as this really help with making sure you are an informed Facebooker:

http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-privacy-new-2009-12

It all comes down to being proactive and making the most of the information sharing sites out there. This may involve a bit of self-censoring and active engagement with the subtle changes that Facebook makes to its design, but it’s worth it. Despite their issues, I still think it’s better to have them than to not.

Watch the screen, don’t let it watch you.

References:

Van Grove, Jennifer. 2010, “New Facebook Groups Designed to Change the Way You Use Facebook”, 3rd June at <http://mashable.com/2010/10/06/facebook-groups-2/&gt;

Hill, A 2011, “It’s Not Just About Privacy: Facebook’s Growing Problem”, Huffpost Tech, 2nd June at <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-hill/its-not-just-about-privac_b_868507.html&gt;

Zuckerberg, M 2010, “On Making Privacy Controls Simple”, The Official Facebook, US, at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWDneu_w_HQ&gt;