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Internet data warning - you’re an open book

Your reputation is going to have to be protected as the internet free-fall-all sees privacy rights becoming more and more important

15 November 2010

As the internet expands and social networking zones become the rage, there are signs that your privacy rights are being invaded without your consent -or knowledge. Liza van Wyk, CEO of AstroTech and BizTech says online users are not aware of just how digitally naked they have become. 

"Neither business nor the public have come to grips with how much information can be accessed by outsiders nowdays and a lot of it they voluntarily give up," says van Wyk.

"As an example, those who use games and applications on Facebook, surrender a significant amount of information about themselves and their friends every time they allow an application. There are cookies that hold significant information about individuals and their companies and sell it on to information purveyors." Future magazine recently ran a series of articles on workers who use Facebook and Twitter during work hours - and how that could sometimes be detrimental.

For example, bosses read your Facebook profile and find out that you’re not where you say you are.
And Future magazine found that managers tasked with using social networking as part of, say, their marketing brief, sometimes were accused of not working hard enough because they were always on Facebook.

Some example are :

A young British woman was fired from her office job for complaining on Facebook, "I’m so totally bored!!" The International Herald Tribune reported the case of a 66-year-old Canadian psychotherapist who was barred permanently from entering the United States after a border guard’s Internet search found that the therapist had written an article in a philosophy journal describing his experiments 30 years ago with LSD.
75% of US human resource professionals are required by their companies to do online research about candidates and more than three quarters of the recruiters say they rejected the candidates because of information they found on the individual online.

But van Wyk says this goes even further.

"Inroads into privacy are increasing; soon, Internet searches for images are likely to be combined with social-network search engines, which combine data from online sources including political contributions, blog posts, YouTube videos and Web comments. Reputation is going to become a very fragile commodity, what you posted when you were a high spirited 18-year-old could come back to haunt you as an ambitious 30-year-old." 

A recent University of California, Berkeley, study found that large majorities of people 18 to 22 said there should be laws that require Web sites to delete all stored information about individuals and that give people the right to know all the information Web sites know about them.

Source:Internet data warning - you’re an open book-Business Day