Is anyone’s information really “private”?
“Be careful what you share and post online.” This is something everyone has been told at one point in their life when it comes to social media. However, in this day and age, this is crucial advice that people need to follow more than ever. With the recent Facebook data breach scandal (see more information about this on Amber Castillo’s story on page 5), I feel that people don’t understand the severe consequences that can occur with even the smallest click.
We live in a society where we are constantly wanting to share our lives with others, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily. However, sometimes I feel that Americans share too much. Being “private” online is more than just choosing who can see your information and who cannot. There are a variety of factors that people need to take into consideration. The thing about the internet is that there is nothing private anymore. Even if you think no one will ever see it, someone out there is trying to find your data.
Look at Facebook and everything that has happened with them recently in the news. Facebook users’ data has been used without their consent which seems a little bit too extreme to the company’s original mission statement which was “to make the world more open and connected.” However, it isn’t just with Facebook. Take Snapchat for example. One of the features of the new app update allows users to share their location and pinpoint exactly where they’re at. Sure, people can argue this is beneficial to those who get lost and need a friend to come get them. But it’s also a scary thought as well to know that if you don’t remove the setting, anyone that you add can see exactly where you are.
It’s not just social media that people need to worry about, even though that’s the main thing people focus on. Online shopping, Internet browsing and even when you go pay for gas at the gas pump with your debit card is something people can never feel completely safe using. My grandfather is a traditional and “old school” kind of guy who uses no Internet, social media or gives out his information. He argues that he just doesn’t believe in computers or smartphones. Yet despite this he’s been a victim of getting money stolen from his card for about two or three times now. That’s because he has no online presence whatsoever. This is a terrifying thought for me. As technology is growing to become more advanced, this leaves us vulnerable to anything.
I personally feel that people don’t quite understand the severity of data breaching until it happens to them. Until a person gets their money or identity stolen, or all their information is shared, they won’t ever give those privacy settings a second thought. Securing your information is more than just “hiding” or setting things to “private.” We, as functioning members of this society, must be more mindful of how we share our information because in the long run we will only be hurting ourselves.