Archive for the ‘ internet privacy ’ Category

Internet Privacy: How Cookies Have Changed Everything

As you may have seen me mention before, the internet has changed the way consumers seek information. Today, advances in information technology are allowing businesses to track and monitor online traffic through cookies. Not the chocolate chip kind, but the bits of information stored by your web browser that allow different websites you visit to link to one another. For example, a cookie could let an online retailer know that you viewed a video game trailer on YouTube, and suggest similar games for you to purchase based on that. While many are aware of this, and clear the cookies on their web browser accordingly, there are new developments such as Flash cookies that accomplish the same task but can be more difficult to find and erase.

With the current boom in social media usage, riding the overall improvement of accessibility to the internet, it can be easy for many to speculate that today’s generation is less sensitive about what personal information is visible online. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” Research, however, says otherwise; 92% of teens surveyed in a Zogby poll believe they should be able to request the deletion of all their personal information held by a search engine, social network, or marketing company. 85% would like to see these sources request permission before they collect data at all. And while Zuckerberg mentions these shifts in public thinking, Facebook is still constantly changing its privacy structure to meet consumer’s needs. Most recently, they changed the format of Facebook Groups and other applications in order to offer increased privacy, creating smaller social groups that will allow friends to keep in contact with one another.

As individuals, internet privacy can have a profound impact on our image. As a college student, and a marketing student in particular, I am constantly monitoring the information I post on my Facebook, tweet on Twitter, send through emails and so on. Now, more than ever, it is becoming easier for job recruiters to pull up information about you that is posted online. There are facts to support this, as in many cases businesses have refused to hire students because their online information presents the exact opposite of a professional image.

While the internet has created great ease in information search and retrieval, it has proven to be a double-edged sword. All information, including personal details about your spending habits, your demographics, your interests, etc., is readily available online. Are you taking the steps to make sure the information you put out there represents you in a positive manner?

References:
“Code That Tracks Users’ Browsing Prompts Lawsuits”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/technology/21cookie.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=internet%20privacy&st=cse

“Teens Want More Privacy Online Too”
http://www.fastcompany.com/1693718/teens-want-more-privacy-controls-poll

“Facebook adds new privacy…”
http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/facebook-adds-new-privacy-dashboard-downloadable-data-group-sharing/?news=123

“Is Your Online Identity Spoiling Your Chances?”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/jobs/10search.html?scp=3&sq=internet%20privacy&st=cse

Image:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chocolate_chip_cookies.jpg

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