Posts Tagged ‘privacy’
Cross your fingers new applicants. Whether your applying for a new job or the college of your dreams, applicants have a new consideration. If you were worried whether that misdemeanor you committed when you were 15 is going to show up on your background check, employers and college admissions are now demanding full Facebook access from job applicants and student athletes. Here are a few ways your application process may be affected:
Logging into Facebook During an Interview: According to MSNBC “In Maryland, job seekers applying to the state’s Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall”. If this makes you cringe, fear not, a bit of internet marketing and social media optimization can actually increase your chances of landing the job.
Surrendering your Login and Password: In the past, employers have asked for your password and login information to bypass privacy filters to really dig into your personal information. After extreme opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), this practice is no longer allowed, leading to the method mentioned above.
“Friending” a Coach or Compliance Officer: Student athletes are being required to friend at least one coach or supervisor in order to obtain access to “friends only” posts. Student athletes are often the face-card of the school and more times than not, freshman players, all-stars or not, can post inappropriate material.
Social Media Monitoring Companies: Some universities are using software services such as UDilligence and Varsity Monitor to automate social media monitoring. These services will assign a “reputation scoreboard” based on acceptable posts and comments.
The topic is highly controversial, dealing not only with privacy issues but also rights protected under the first amendment. Bradley Shear, a Washington D.C.-lawyer brings up a valid argument, “I can’t believe some people think it’s OK to do this [...] Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email. As a society, where are we going to draw the line?”. Supporter or adversary alike agree that there needs to be regulation on this issue. Would you be comfortable going through your Facebook with a potential employer during an interview?
Last Friday, search engine giant Google Inc. was exposed by the Wall Street Journal in a privacy scandal which some call “cookiegate” involving cookies being installed onto Apple’s browser Safari. The problem is that Google knowingly circumvented Safari’s browser settings in order to install cookies even when users opt for the “no third party cookies” setting. The reason Google puts cookies on a user’s device is to track sites visited, which in turn lets Google tailor internet advertising to the user. In short, the more data Google can collect, the more money it can make through its online advertising business. So, in wake of recent events at Google Inc. here are the pros and cons of cookies.
- Privacy: The main concern for most users is privacy. Cookie enabled web browsers keep track of all the websites you have visited. This means that with permission (or not in Google’s case), third parties can access the information stored by these cookies. These third parties can be advertisers, other users, or even the government in some cases.
- Security: Cookie security is a large problem. The concern is that many security holes have been found in different browsers. Some of these holes were so serious that they allowed malicious webmasters to gain access to users’ email, different passwords, and credit card information.
- Secrecy: Although third party cookies can be blocked through your browser settings, most people don’t have the technical expertise to do this. Most browsers purposely make it difficult to find this setting in order to prevent you from turning them off. No cookies mean no data, which in turn means less money.
- Conveniency: Cookies not only remember which websites you have been to, they also remember information about forms. Tired of filling out your address every time you buy something online? Cookies can make filling out address forms quick and efficient. Most online shopping websites nowadays allow cookies for address and email information, but make you fill out your credit card information each time.
- Effective Advertising: How nice would it be to only be offered products or services that are relevant to you? Internet marketing companies collect data from cookies to run marketing campaigns aimed at a very specific market segment including product group, geolocation, search term, and demographics.
- Ease of Control: It is actually really easy to manage your cookies if you know how. Most browsers make it easy for you to clear your browsing history. Just go to tools, clear history and select cookies. Cookies are stored in your hardrive in a text file under cookie.txt, and since it is a text file you can use just about any viewer or text editor to display, edit, and delete them.
In context to Google’s case, cookies are not always bad. Google’s intentions were to make their +1 buttons for Google+ more effective across different browsers. While Google may have used some taboo tactics to bypass Safari’s browser, their intentions were to make their search more personable. This tactic has however landed them a lawsuit. From a user perspective, cookies are there to make web browsing more efficient and personalized. If you have nothing to hide from search engines, enabling cookies will make your web browsing experience more pleasant and efficient. We would love to hear what your opinions are on cookie privacy, please feel free to share below.
The state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany is banning Facebook’s “Like” button on German websites based in the region.
The controversial decision is lead by officials and Thilo Weichert, the head of the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection of the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, whom are giving website owners until the end of September to remove the “Like” button or face a 50,000 Euro fine.
Weichert has concerns about Facebook’s privacy settings and the company’s overwhelming control on people’s data. “Facebook can track every click on a site, how long I’m there, what I’m interested in,” told Weichert to German newspaper FAZ. He argues that the “Like” button on one’s website illegally sends the data to Facebook, which is then used to profile and understand web habits.
This isn’t the first time Germany put its foot down to protect its citizen’s privacy. The street view of one’s home on Google map can be pixelated, if the homeowner chooses to. Also, Facebook’s facial recognition feature has been criticized.
Weichert and the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection are showing resistance to Facebook’s growing intrusion into user’s privacy but it’s a battle that everyone else chose to avoid. Yes, Facebook is intrusive, but only if you let it be. Anyone who clicks a “Like” button is taking the responsibility to share that information. The feature shouldn’t be banned since it is only an option, if someone wishes to share information about his/her interests.
A lot of people are concerned about Facebook’s privacy settings but users need to remember that they are the ones with complete power in deciding which information to share or not.
Here’s a great IMI client success story as we move past hump day and head into the weekend. Audioo, a new voicemail sharing platform that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt last month, has come right out the gate with an extremely successful social media campaign. It’s a great story about how being controversial and polarizing will gain you attention. In short, Audioo is a site that let’s users publicly post their funny and entertaining voicemail messages – think of Audioo as “Text From Last Night for Voicemail”. Here’s a little example of one of their hilarious uploads from a drunk girlfriend in area code 818:
By choosing something that’s traditionally private (voicemail) and making it public, Audioo has gained many critics who are completely frightened by the idea of personal messages being outed on the internet. At the same time, they’ve been able to gain a lot of new users and traffic from social media exhibitionists (those who like to share content) who are not afraid to publish their entertaining content. On the other side of the fence, social media voyeurs (those who like to consume shared content) are flocking to the site as a new entertainment destination. It seems that by taking the stance that privacy is not important anymore, Audioo has been able to attract the attention it needed to come out of the gate and attract voicemail uploaders and addicts – exactly the types of users that they need to turn the site into a viral entertainment success.
The site’s been covered on a few notable blogs in the tech community, including TechCrunch and Gizmodo (of Apple iPhone 4 leak fame). The company’s founder will be a guest on the popular web TV series This Week in Social Media with Sean Percival today at 11am PST. Tune in by following the link below to hear more about the Audioo’s history and future plans. Here’s the full video –>
Audioo (which is owned and operated by royalty free music and sound effects distributor AudioMicro) is an interesting phenomena in that Audioo’s popularity is coming to light smack in the middle of all the Facebook privacy issues. This leads us to wonder, is privacy dead? Is anything we record electronically (email, text messages, voicemail, etc.) really private anymore? Let’s take that one step further…wasn’t it the Tiger Woods voicemail that actually broke the story on his infidelity? If it can happy to Tiger, is it really that surprising that voicemails you leave on other people’s phones could be publicly shared? Please let us know your opinions in the comment.
Are we all asking to get robbed? That’s what the guys behind PleaseRobMe.com are telling us, with their new website dedicated to a Twitter reel showing anyone who recently left their homes and then notified the public via location-sharing networks, such as Foursquare, Buzzd, Gowalla, all of which have been profiled in this blog. Really it’s about time someone highlighted the dangers of sites like Foursquare and Google Buzz; when you break it down, it really does seem ridiculous to tell the entire world when you leave your home and to publicly list your address. The site itself is overall quite primitive—all their “inside scoop” comes from a simple Twitter search that anyone could perform on their own computer in about 0.4 seconds.
Okay, so maybe these guys are exaggerating a bit, making it sound like we might as well put out a welcome mat and greet burglars with a tray of freshly baked cookies. But they do make a very good point about how oblivious most users are to the privacy risks that come with being so connected. And now that they’ve done that, and in the process garnered a whole lot of buzz, they want to dedicate the website to a foundation for online privacy awareness.
What does it all mean?
One reading of this development is as follows: privacy concerns are taken far too lightly by members and participants of these social networks. People share too much information too frequently and are compromising their safety. Conversely, one could argue that the size of these networks has grown faster than imagined, creating a wealth of information that is now being sifted through and sorted out, allowing for a disciplined thief to digitally case someone’s place. If members start to post less information they will be protecting themselves, but they’ll also be providing marketers less information to assemble a profile from. In the meantime let’s not forget the major precautions one can take to protect their home and belongings…like locking the door.