Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Your Online Privacy is Fading Quickly!



There has always been a lot of debate about whether the internet is safe and whether the personal information that you put on the internet is protected. Parents are always worried about their children accessing the internet because who knows what they’ll find, or who knows what kind of information they’re putting up and who can see that information? The internet is not a safe and secure environment and posting personal information online in unsafe and not smart.
Image Courtesy of One-Eighty
When you think of the online world, it doesn't seem like a very secure and trustable place. There is a lot that can go wrong, technology-wise and internet-wise. Say you’re writing an essay for class and your computer dies. Shoot! You can’t get it back. Or maybe your internet is out and you can’t complete your English homework. This however is just the innocent side of the Internet. The internet is not the best place for personal information such as pictures, phone numbers, emails, and bank accounts. There are hackers and people all over the internet that are attempting to get this information to do who knows what. The most recent well known data breach was the Target data breach. Person information such as mailing and email addresses, and phone numbers and names were stolen from 70 million to 110 million customers over the Holidays. This can provide evidence that even a secure company is not protected from hackers. This is why you should always be cautious of what you post on the Internet and social media places. Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr may seem secure, but even if you have privacy settings on your profile, your pictures and informations can still be accessed and used against your permission. An example of this would be, Jessica Gwozdz. Gwozdz had just signed up for Flickr so she could share pictures of her little son and daughter with distant family members using an album that was not password protected. However a friend soon sent an email to Gwozdz saying that a fake profile was found on a Brazilian social-networking site using headshots of her 4-year old daughter. It was soon found out that teenage Brazilian girls were copying childrens photo from photo-sharing sites and using them to create paper dolls, they were then rated on a “sexy” scale based on the quality of their work. However, Mrs. Gwozdz is not alone, on average, two million people suffer from identity theft a year. These examples should advise people to watch what they post on social networking sites and to always use privacy setting.

 Facebook is very popular. The site has over one billions users and is used daily. However, Facebook’s privacy policies are regularly questioned because they are unstable and not secure. When we upload photos to Facebook, has anyone ever noticed the facial recognition feature? How does Facebook recognize that person in a photo? A test was set up to show just how scary facial recognition software has become. Profiles pictures from users with fake names were taken from a popular dating site and they were cross-referenced with Facebook profile pictures. These users and their real names were easily identified. The study's goal was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person. A second experiment was set up where researchers took real life photos of college students and used facial recognition software to re-identify them. They were able to identify ⅓ of them. Facial recognition software is a threat because this can lead to potential identity theft from how easily people have been identified. Once facial recognition technology has been run on you and you’ve been identified, your profile can be accessed to get all required information for said identity theft.

Identity theft can also be achieved if you lose your smartphone. We are in the age of smartphones, so losing your smartphone is very dangerous because all personal information is stored on that device. Not just your personal information either, it’s possible that you may have family members, relatives, or friends personal information in your phone that can be acquired if your smartphone is lost. An experiment(Opposing Viewpoints Online) was conducted to test what people would do if they found a smartphone lying around. The key findings were; 96% of lost smartphones were accessed by the finders, 89% of devices were accessed for personal-related apps and information, 83% of devices were accessed for corporate-related apps and information, 70% of devices were accessed for both business- and personal-related apps and information, and 50% of smartphone finders contacted the owner and provided contact information. “People are naturally curious, but when a lost mobile device is discovered, curiosity can lead to the violation of personal privacy and the exposure of sensitive personal information.”(Opposing Viewpoints Online). The phones were almost always accessed and the phones were only returned one half of the time, even though they had clearly marked contact information in them. The most harmful part of losing your smartphone is the security risk.

The Internet has never really been a safe place to begin with, but that is starting to change now with some developing technology. A smartphone app was developed to protect your images from potential threats once they were uploaded to sites light Facebook. This app prevented anyone from taking a screenshot, downloading it, or saving it to their computer or smartphone. How it works is it adds a layer of privacy to your photo. Photos that use applications like these don’t appear on your Facebook timeline but only the people that you allow to see it will be given a link to the image. The app doesn't only limit you to that, it also can help you find photos that you may not even know are online.

The internet can be a dangerous place if you don’t take the right safety measures to protect your photos and personal information. Social-networking sites are the most dangerous so we have to be cautious. Always be careful of what you put online, think of who you want to see and and who is actually going to see it. The unsafe environment of the internet is slowly decreasing thanks to applications that aim to protect your personal information. As technology like this increases, the internet will become a safer and better environment, however as it is, the online environment is still not safe and can provide harm if you do not protect your personal information.

Opposing Viewpoints: “Lost Smartphones pose Privacy and Security Risk”
Link:http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&limiter=&u=taco15116&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010867220
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Conclusion- edited 3/4/14
The process of writing this blog has been fun, challenging and has required me to put in a lot of effort and time to find the required knowledge and to get the desired outcome, but I have to say, I am thoroughly please as to how the research I did gives it a clear insight to how the internet is not always safe and posting information online is unsafe. My thesis of this blog is related to the concept of digital citizenship because one of the main ideas of the whole concept is to protect who you are and to be careful of what you post online because the information that you post can be harmful, and my blog talks all about how posting personal information is bad and how if someone gets a hold of this information it is very bad. Your replies and questions to and about my blog have been challenging and have required me to do some further research. Your questions brought some questions of my own to the surface and they've been resolved, and all the questions that have been asked helped clarify if the internet is safe or not. My topic of online safety really only has two options; safe or unsafe, my opinion was that the internet was unsafe, and your replies seemed as if you agreed with me. I would like to thank you for reading and commenting!
-Soccer9

10 comments:

  1. thank you, now I know that I cant trust online privacy

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  2. You did a good job summarizing all of the facts in one post. You convinced me to be more careful when I share things online. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, LovelyDuck14. You're welcome.
      -Soccer9

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  3. Hi Soccer9. Your post is a real eye opener. It shows just how easy it is to lose your identity and other personal information to the world. Even with all the security measures that people take how is the information still getting out? Your post makes it seem as though no one is safe from anything on the internet anymore so how can people make sure that they can be safe online? These would be good things for people to find out more about. --Dragon99

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    1. Dragon99, thank you for reading and commenting! Security measures can be very deceiving. What I would recommend to be safe online would be to not post personal information online. As I wrote in my blog, the distribution of personal information can lead to things such as identity theft, personal information theft, picture theft, and harm to yourself from potentially harmful people. However, not putting personal information online is not always an option, if you have to put personal information online make sure you only put minimal information online that does not reveal any other information that could lead people to information such as social security numbers, bank account information and your personal location. The most harm comes from putting personal information online that you don't think has the potential to expose other personal information about yourself to other people. You never know what these people might do with this information so you must always be careful and cautious of what is posted online.
      -Soccer9

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  4. Hi Soccer99, I really enjoyed your posting. Especially what you mentioned about the facebook facial recognition software. Last night I was trying to upload a photo to facebook and it suggested one of the faces was a friend of mine. I was curious as to how it knew, but soon remembered how much information was collected about us on the internet. Are there any other ways that we could post pictures truly privately?
    -Leta

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    1. Hi Leta, thanks for reading and commenting! The Facebook facial recognition feature is actually kind of scary. I've done some research and the only way I've really been able to find how to post pictures privately is to use the app I wrote about here; http://www.intelfreepress.com/news/facebook-photo-privacy-app-goes-mobile/4647 . This type of technology is still fairly new and is still being developed, so as time goes on I'm sure more advanced technology will develop. Besides that, I would suggest on Facebook that yous post photos to "Friends" only, if you do not already. This creates a more secure environment for sharing because as it implies, only the people that you are friends with are allowed to see your photos.
      -Soccer9

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  5. Interesting post, Soccer9! I hadn't thought about the ways that a lost smartphone can be a security risk, thanks to all of the information we store on them. It seems to be a fairly standard practice to password-protect your phone. Do you have any idea how effective this is? Are the 4-digit passwords on iphones, for example, enough to make the phone's stored data secure? The statistics you have provided on the fate of a lost phone are pretty startling. I appreciate the reminder of what can happen to a lost or stolen phone. -- Ms. Riches

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    1. Hi Jane Riches, Thanks for reading and Commenting. Smartphone lock codes can be hazardous even to ourselves. If we forget our passcode or if we enter it incorrectly a certain number of times, we're locked out of our own phone. However, the four-digit passcode on the iPhone is reasonably secure, except methods for bypassing the codes are being discovered. Even though the passcode is secure, it is not impossible to hack. This article explains how a password on a locked iPhone was uncovered in six minutes; http://www.macworld.com/article/1157792/iphone_security.html . You have to remember that no data is ever really safe. There are hackers all over the internet that are just hoping they can get their hands on your personal information. There passcode provides a fairly secure barrier to your personal data. This is an interesting article on the passcode security; http://www.macworld.com/article/2029998/understanding-ios-passcode-security.html .
      -Soccer9

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