Your Online Presence
Social media has given humans another venue to express opinions, share ideas and show where you are on the map. With all of these great tools literally at our figer tips, do many people think about their privacy? Or do many people simply not care who sees what they are doing online? These questions have become relevant within the past year, so relevant that Congress is talking about it. Mobile apps have been scrutinized recently over privacy settings. Information on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare can tell others about your location and what you are doing. Does big brother need to take charge and monitor what is said online, or can we take care of our own online privacy?
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) paid more that 11 million dollars to General Dynamics for a system to monitor Facebook and Twitter. This system primarily searches for content that “adversely reflect” on the government. Lawmakers feel that this system is necessary for government and law enforcement agencies to prevent potential threats. Other lawmakers feel that this system infringes on First Amendment rights. The real question is whether the government is monitoring the what, instead of the who. Many criminal organizations have moved to social media to recruit and spread the word. There is a need to monitor what is happening online, but does it need to be policed?
What Other Can See
Facebook, Google and Twitter all contain information about you, your name, birthday, contact information and location. Many of these social media sites sync with mobile devices that update address books. Users are not aware of what others can see about them. Most users are not aware of how to change privacy settings, so they can limit what is seen about them online and on mobile contact lists. Avi Charkham has created a website that contains a link to Facebook which will block mobile devices from accessing your information, thus helping those in the dark. The only way to be completely invisible is to revoke all apps from Facebook and hide all contact information. Doing so would be counter intuitive to what Facebook is for, if you ask me.
What You Can Do
Maintain your online presence before someone else does! Be smart and be savvy. Limit what can be seen about you and be familiar with the privacy settings on all of the social media sites you use. Make sure you are not posting questionable content that could get you in a bad situation. Most of all, treat social media as if you were talking to somebody face-to-face. Have fun and most of all be safe while using social media.