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Online Privacy - Protection Impossible?

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posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 09:35 AM
According to website Statista, a staggering 1.79bn people worldwide are social network users. The figure is astounding, although not surprising. Many of us use the social networks available online to connect with new people, to stay in touch with family and friends, and to promote and raise business profiles.

It is a modern day commodity, enabling us to reach people – and places – without restriction of time, travel and attendance. It is instant, easy and fun, a new way of life, addictive to some, worrying to others.

When author Lori Andrews released her book, ‘I Know Who You Are And I Saw What You Did – The Death of Privacy,’ I was compelled to understand why this writer was so nervous about the power of social networking, and I read her book with an open mind. The book covers many issues and aspects of social media use – from hacking, to bullying, to invasion of privacy. It is a sobering read. Yet one issue that Lori Andrews explored caught my attention more than any other. An online app is apparently being developed, according to Andrews, whereby one could view an online profile of any individual that they come into contact with. For instance, the person who sits next to you on the train can turn on their app, and any information that you have entered on social networking sites is condensed into a profile of who you are. Immediately your name, location, job and photos are in the hands of the person next to you.

It is information you have entered online – willingly – so could such an online feature really be so bad? It is, of course, a matter of personal opinion. If we, as individuals, are responsible about which information we publicly share online, then one would hope that such an app would be meaningless – almost irrelevant. Yet one might argue that it somehow feels more invasive, to be profiled by strangers in public. That almost “anonymous” feeling one gets from sitting behind a computer screen, suddenly disappears. It does seem to altar the dynamic of that information you so freely share in cyberspace.

Could such an app ever be a reality? A quick search online reveals that in some ways, this technology already exists. FaceTag is an app that uses facial recognition to search out the online profiles of people we snap pictures of, using mobile phones. Having a night out with friends? A quick snap with your phone, and the person in the bar who catches your eye can be evaluated and learned about before the first “Hello.”

The issue of privacy has plagued users of social networks from the beginning. That we have to be careful, selective and self-aware when sharing personal details online is a must. Though social networking and apps have mass appeal, are fun to use, and help us to engage with others on levels never before possible, with this comes a responsibility – not only with the information we ourselves share, but so too, with the information of others that many of us have at our fingertips.

Are we becoming privacy obsessed, and overly cautious? Would such a public profiling app make you uncomfortable, or is it possibly a means to staying safe and identifying threats, as some have suggested? For instance, some who use online dating have suggested that such apps make meeting strangers off the internet safer.

Whichever side one takes, social networking is a fascinating subject. It has shaped how the modern world shares, connects and promotes. It is easy, accessible and dynamic. As with anything, such powerful resources can be abused, and it is this that gives many people pause for thought. Our privacy is a precious thing.

posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 09:43 AM
a reply to: AlmostRosey

Good effort. Online social "chatting" is less dangerous than…

A quick snap with your phone, and the person in the bar who catches your eye can be evaluated and learned about before the first “Hello.”

Personally, I would avoid people in Bars, but thats just my own private APP.

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