Privacy, Transparency, Tracking, and Hacking

If I had to choose four words to sum up Social Media in 2010 they would be the above digital technology related terms.

Social Media and internet privacy is a fairly complex subject. If you are a business or promoting a business, privacy is a non-issue. This was the year was that Facebook blew the lid off your data and Social Media privacy. After repeatedly tweaking it’s privacy settings in the past, in early 2010 Facebook  employed the ‘LIKE’ button to opened the digital transparency floodgates. The short lived movement to “kill your Facebook account” was about as successful as the Thanksgiving TSA Scanner protests. Facebook has more daily page views than Google and chances are if you are a Facebook regular just about everything you say and do is out there for data miners to use and sell.

Privacy, Transparency, Tracking, ...

The upside of what some think of as “the end of privacy” could be an new era of improved digital responsibility. New media transparency seems to be putting and end to the anonymous flaming and trolling on news article comment posts and other sites. More and more sites are requiring signing in with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or blog before posting anything. Faceless rants and anonymous rages are sometimes entertaining but are mostly degrading to the internet’s collective intellect and counterproductive to the reasons you are visiting the site. The State of California has a reminder for people writing fake blogs and creating fake social networking profiles. It’s called  Senate Bill 1411. Starting this month it is now illegal to "knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another actual person through or on an Internet Web site... for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person." Who knows where this new law goes or how it effects innocent spoofs. The bottom line is that the day reckoning for digital responsibility is around the corner.

And that digital responsibility does not stop with the end users. Marketing tracking  businesses and data miners beware. The Federal Trade Commission has recommended a major framework and plan for the commercial use of internet consumer data, including a simple and universal “do not track” procedure that would give web consumers the control they gained over telemarketers with the national “do not call” registry. Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google browsers would have to employ some type of user opt-in or opt-out for what data they would be sharing with marketers and websites. This seems like a common sense option to me; though this is the polar opposite of popular Geo-location sites like Foursquare. We are a diverse population indeed, while the FTC works on “Do Not Track”, millions of Smartphone adopters are working on “Please Track Me.”

We know there is really no ‘erase’ or ‘delete’ when it comes to the net. We use the latest tools to protect our passwords and keep our laptop safe from malware and viruses. We deal only with the most credible and security forward sites to insure integrity of or information and personal data. Privacy, transparency, and tracking all become pretty insignificant issues when data is breached. If it can happen to the U.S. Department of State, it can happen to any of us. Can you say Wikileaks!

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