Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - Almanac Vol. 54, No. 4
Your Life Online
The online world gives us unprecedented opportunities to chat with people around the globe about current issues, to network professionally and socially, and generally to express ourselves. These are amazing and positive developments.
But think about privacy risks when posting to blogs and similar services, and uploading to video-sharing sites. Electronic postings may be permanent and may define you now or at any future point. Statements and pictures posted online now, in jest or to convey a message to a defined group, may come back to haunt you in the future. Employers commonly use search engines to gather background information on job applicants. Consider who else may search the web on your name and what they may find.
Online networking sites raise similar privacy issues. Once you post data about yourself, you may never be able to take it back. Do you want the world to know your street address or your winter break plans? Maybe you’re comfortable sharing only your email address and only with a designated group of people. Check for privacy options available through most online services and make choices that are right for you about what you share with whom. Be aware, however, that choosing the right privacy options does not provide any guarantee against potential hackers who may gain access to all site data.
Temporary Postings are Easily Made Permanent: You may think that what you’re posting is temporary or limited in view. Bear in mind that websites like Internet Archives capture snapshots of the entire web and preserve data - even data taken down locally - for the world to see perhaps for decades.