Saturday, December 31, 2011

Identity, Privacy, Security and Trust

Think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

what is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?

One of Facebook's policies is that identities need to be real. Facebook attempts to identify fake identities and have their profiles removed (Reynes-Goldie, 2010). In terms of what we present to the world we should never hide behind fake identities, however is it safer in terms of our privacy to retain our identity and presume a fake one for our online identity?

I can understand why people use an alias instead of their 'real' self when setting up accounts online. We feel like through this we are protecting ourselves in a sense, saving our privacy. However, this is also letting down the online world and the aim of social networking and social media to break down barriers to communication and create transparency between networks. I think there is always a need to be your 'real' self and not hide behind an alias. In doing this there is a responsibility in respecting your online identity and that of others. Thinking before posting or tagging needs to become a catch cry in schools and educational institutions.

In terms of our privacy I don't believe a fake identity makes you safer or more protected considering many online identities require or allow uploading or photos, networking with friends, colleagues and family and there are many online facilities for internet deep searches that can detect your identity (Davis, 2009).

what can we share and what should we retain as private to the online world?

There is a great need to be a part of the online world. Reynes-Goldie (2010) discusses the great social cost of not having a Facebook account, as Facebook becomes the means to communication about invitations and events, people and places. Further to this, remaining connected with friends and family and having access to the online world brings a great amount of happiness to many people around the world.

In terms of what we share, I suppose its personal. I am probably quite cautious, I don't expose my address, contact details or birthdate, my intimate feelings or photos. I never 'rant' or 'rave' or post when upset or angry. Generally my online world is purely for staying in touch and to keep up to date with what's happening around me. I've never forgotten what Barack Obama said "be careful what you post on Facebook".

There is however difficulties that exist when people post about or tag you. Reynes-Goldie (2010) found through research that most young people were aware of their "Social Privacy" and wanted greater control over what was posted about them before it became public.

There are a great number of deep search facilities available on the net which makes finding information about people, or yourself, easier and this is what concerns me (Davis, 2009). I often think about people who are trying to escape a past life, for whatever reason, and cannot rebuild when there is so much evidence made public by an online presence. I also worry about the youth of today who perhaps haven't got the foresight to see the impact their online profiles can continue to have in their later life.

1 comment:

  1. you poor thing. This was me last year. doing lots of readings and in the middle of my placement at a local library and writing up my report for that and my portfolio. Yes this year is much better. Feeling your pain!