Monthly ArchiveNovember 2010
The growing success of Facebook has been accompanied by waves of concern over privacy rights and sharing too much on individuals’ pages. Numerous news reports have come out in an attempt to teach people what type of information is smart to post and what is not on their personal page, all to avoid a range of problems such as being fired from a job, getting hacked, and even legal problems. The Huffington Post recently came out with a similar list of “13 Things You Shouldn’t Tell Your Facebook Friends,” which included helpful privacy tips that I had never before heard of, obvious tips, and some that were a bit absurd, bordering on paranoia of the internet. Here are a few from the article:
1. Do not post your full birth date and place of birth. Sounds like simple information, but thieves can actually find your social security number simply from entering your name, birth date, and place of birth. I had no previous knowledge of this threat, and even though I feel comfortable assuming none of my college or old high school friends would want to steal my identity, I did check to make sure that my place of place of birth was not listed. The article suggests posting a fake birth date a few days off of your own to still receive birthday messages. But in all fairness, who wants to receive well-wishes two days prior or post to your actual special day? Not me.
2. Do not use your mother’s maiden name as a security answer. The article suggests not using the question “What is your mother’s maiden name?” because it is the same security question many other sites use, such as bank and credit card accounts. I knew when reading this that my mother’s maiden name is a security answer to my bank account, and sure enough it was also a Facebook security question. I changed the Facebook question immediately. As a college student, I can’t run the risk of anyone gaining access to my small, but precious bank account.
3. Do not post your phone number. This tip may seem obvious to most people, but what many don’t realize is that posting a cell phone number on a group or event page can be just as dangerous as posting it on a personal page. Facebook groups created to collect people’s cell phone numbers after losing or getting a new phone are very common, and very often are set to “Public.” In Facebook terms, this means that everyone on Facebook, and even those not on Facebook, have access to view the page, and therefore your cell phone number. So, if a friend has recently lost his or phone and requests your number, send a private message so your number will remain private from the entire Internet.
As you can gather from this short list, personal security and privacy are nothing to mess with when dealing with social networks and the Internet. Threats range from minimal to very huge with a lot of repercussions. Yet tools like Facebook should be fun; a way to stay connected and in-touch with friends. As individuals using the Internet, we have to recognize the balance between sharing too much information and using it as the social tool it has become. But most importantly, we have a responsibility to self-monitor and censor what we post in order to protect ourselves in such a viral world. After all, what is broadcast out into the Internet remains somewhere in cyberspace forever.
Breast Cancer Action
You told Eli Lilly loud and clear that they need to stop Milking Cancer, so we went to deliver your message via a billboard in their hometown. Here’s the lesson we learned: A pharma company can increase our risk of breast cancer, but a breast cancer advocacy group cannot get billboard space to let the public know about this public health risk. Because we don’t have the money? Nope. Because the billboard companies in Indianapolis won’t carry this message. Barbara A. Brenner says: “When corporate influence runs this deep, the public should be outraged. We certainly are.”
See press release