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Blog #8 Personal Privacy

November 7, 2012

When communication technology discussion comes to the issue of personal privacy in our modern digital age, I would consider myself a concerned individual. My concerns stem from the intentions of data mining activities directed towards me from multiple means of communication. As we learned in class, companies like Acxiom make a business (a very good one it appears) from what I consider unlawful seizure of personal data. It concerns me further that my computer, my phone, my bank card, my school records, etc. are all monitored through systems by people I have never met. What they are doing with my information and files, I almost wouldn’t care know.

I am proud to say that the above mentioned privacy concerns have translated into me taking preventative actions. In fact, while typing this assignment, I have updated my Facebook privacy settings to protect from unapproved users. The first provided article also addresses how social media and web pages like Facebook use cookies to track movements and gather data on the user. The article goes on to highlight how there are no laws regarding private collection of surfing data. This is part of the reason for my concerns about my personal information. When it comes to social media outlets, I try never to publicly or privately post anything I wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, even with my updated privacy settings. I also use caution with my bank card purchases as well. The first article addresses how paper trails from bank transaction are another means of tracking an individual. It is for that reason I often withdraw cash from my bank downtown to make certain purchases. I don’t know why I do it, I just do. Cash feels so much better (and potentially safer) than a piece of plastic sometimes.

Another large majority of my privacy concerns come directly from a previously mentioned source: Facebook. One could equate Facebook to a modern hybrid of the Yellow Pages, Encyclopedia Britannica (of people, places, and businesses), and a high school year book. Knowing that pictures and comments of what I’m doing, where I am, who I am with, etc. are available online for anybody to see often makes me wonder why I have an account in the first place.

We as individuals should be concerned with our personal privacy in a digital age. Legislation like the Do Not Track bill should be instated by the government to protect its citizens (especially if a national broadband plan is in the works). It would seem clear that just like in the real world and digital world, there are more people looking to rip you off rather than protect your best interests. This is one reason why I believe action should be taken to protect us as individuals and our personal privacy. We must keep in mind that Big Brother is usually closer than we care to think.

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