Help protect your online posts
Of all the relationships that students are tangled in, their bond with social media may just be the most complicated.
Students live their lives on social media. Daily tweets and status updates. Uploading and pinning pictures. Chatting and posting to friend’s timelines. They share personal info at lightening speed and, sometimes, with little reserve. In many cases, this info is available for the world to see — including future employers.
So how do you protect your information? Nick Pickles, civil liberties campaigner at Big Brother Watch, said knowing the worth of your information and how to protect it in this digital age is invaluable.
“People need to recognize the value of their personal information and then think about the consequences about think about the control they have,” Pickles said.
He said that because the social media explosion has happened so quickly, many people haven’t grasped what’s happening in terms or their information privacy. More likely than not, many just go along with the current.
“The default option in life is privacy,” Pickles said. “Privacy is something that is inherently yours.” Therefore, it’s all about raising people’s awareness of the data they’re handing over.
Pickles offers some tips on how to keep your information yours.
- Be sure to know the when/what context at the point of publication. Who will be able to see the information? “Our world is now inherently organized for being social,” Pickles said. “So the choice is now what and how to share.”
- Know how long is your information stored in the organization’s system
- Know what kind of information is stored. Is it more basic info, or does it include personal messages? “It’s this idea of control. Do you control the data you’re posting?” Pickles said.
- Watch out for statements such as “the company reserves the right to conserve data after the closure of an account.”
- Also look out for sites that say it can republish/adapt your work
1. Have two profiles — one for personal use with family and friends, the other for the job, where you can add coworkers and clients. “The beauty of the internet is that you can multiple personal identities,” Pickles said. “If employers want to see a professional Facebook account, show them that. The single truth of employee relationships is that you control your reputation.”
To aid in internet privacy, one new way to help protect information is Scrambls, a new free service that encodes social media messages using a simple plug-in, allowing for the customized viewing of posts. Only those that you choose to see the messages would be able to see them.
The service works on many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
Scrambles won’t see the messages you encrypt through its services. It’s only an engine that simply scrambles the message.
Joseph Souren of Scrambls called our time a “hyper revolution of communication.”
“What scrambles does is give people back that choice of security,” Souren said. “We need to be able to secure, to trust, that infrastructure.”
In fact, the new service won the 2012 National Child Safety Award from the Child Safety Network, an American child safety organization. And while teens have much more control and judgment over their social media habits, the award was a vote of confidence for the Scrambls team.
“It’s great to see that someone has realized these problems and is doing something about it,” Pickles said.
by Matthew Glowicki