Sunday, November 3, 2013

Idle Thoughts -- Privacy? What Privacy?

Evaluate the concept of privacy in the the context of the social media : how much private information should a person be willing to put on Facebook, for instance, and how much control should a person retain over his or her information? Explain.

The issue of privacy in terms of social media is huge problem.

First, everyone needs to take responsibility for his own actions. Everyone needs to be careful about what they publish. After all, it's no longer private if you make it public. If you wouldn't stand up in front of an audience of strangers and say or do a particular thing, then you shouldn't do so on your Facebook page. By their very nature, social media are not private.

Having said that, it is reasonable that you should be able to post for a group of friends and expect that only your friends would have access to it. This is stated in the context of the fact that social media are free only because they gather information about you which is then sold. What information they gather, and how it is shared are fair questions. Certainly social media should not be data mining or gathering information about members which is unreasonable. Which leaves us with the question, what is reasonable and what is unreasonable?

Many of these answers can't be answered immediately. Perceptions of privacy evolve with changing social situations. It is interesting to watch the process in action as sites gather more and more information, and often find themselves apologizing to their members when they have gone too far, whereupon they readjust their policies.

It's a state of dynamic tension. Customers want only a limited amount of information shared in order to gain service, while the sites want to gather the maximum amount of information to maximize their profits. The give-and-take can be painful, but ultimately it will create new social standards.

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