Editor’s note: This week we are fortunate to have guest writer Susie Jones, author of 8 Core Values: Security, Privacy, and Asset Protection. A business owner for the past 20 years — with the last six years spent working in online business ventures — today she shares the issue of online privacy invasions, learning to “opt out” of websites that track your information, and other steps to protect yourself online.
Social networking sites offer a variety of levels of security settings, which add a thin layer of privacy protection.
It is important to go into the profile for each one of your social media accounts and select or deselect the settings you want to change. Some of the defaults are not favorable to your privacy and are open to data mining.
Most people forget that everything shared online has the potential to be viewed publicly, archived, and/or linked without your permission.
What is posted online never goes away.
This is evidenced by hundreds of employees who have either not gotten a job or lost their existing jobs because of pictures posted on Facebook or something they tweeted after a big night or an argument with a boss.
The issue of privacy invasion, when viewed against the concept of open access online and the impacts on people’s lives, is particularly relevant for smartphones and the applications (“apps”) everyone readily downloads.
Once again – the defaults in the phone itself are powerful personal locators.
This is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
“Marketers are tracking smartphone users through ‘apps’ – games and other software on their phones. Some apps collect information including location, unique serial-number-like identifiers for the phone, and personal details such as age and sex. Apps routinely send the information to marketing companies that use it to compile dossiers on phone users. As part of the “What They Know” investigative series into data privacy, the Journal analyzed the data collected and shared by 101 popular apps on iPhone and Android phones (including the Journal’s own iPhone app). This interactive database shows the behavior of these apps, and describes what each app told users about the information it gathered.”
Some of you may recall the two-part article on this very website back in February that showed a fabulous “infograph” from a young man named Calvin. He has a website that will help you opt out of the web sites marketers have set up to so this tracking.
I highly recommend you visit the site to see how many advertisers are tracking YOU!
I had 29!
This is the culmination of his research into online advertising. The online advertisers are able to read the unique signal coming from your phone, and based on previous searches, your location, your likes and dislikes, and use this information to personalize your web browsing experience.
Deter, Detect, and Defend
Here is a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and the work they do “Fighting Back against Identity Theft.”
The DETER, DETECT and DEFEND program brochures have also been added to the home page on my website, 8CoreValues.com.
The main message is that it takes vigilance to be sure identity thieves do not get access to your personal information.
This access can be in the form of bank statements with sensitive account information thrown away in the trash, to falling for a “phishing scheme” and replying to any emails saying your account has been suspended and they want you to update your information.
Shred documents that have any information at all, even the coding that is over the name and address section of a form letter contains information about you.
Be sure to purchase online only through sites using secure payment processing.
Never give credit card information through an email. PayPal will not ask you to update your information via email, eBay will not ask you either – they will also always address you by your user name not Sir, or your real names.
If you receive an email that you suspect may be genuine, go to the site via a browser rather than via the email and check it out. Ask the support team if they are sending out emails.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, here are the best ways to contact me: