Sharing of information, social media and privacy – before and now

As I can’t sleep I’ve decided to scribble down some thoughts regarding sharing of information, social media and privacy.

It’s interesting how in my younger days I was obsessed, well maybe not intentionally, about sharing information about me and getting my name out there.

I’d sign up for several interesting community sites and totally fill out the forms with my full name, e-mail, sex, birthday, likes/dislikes, about me and so on. I would have no second thoughts about who has access to this information (often displayed publicly), what the service uses my information for (other than the obvious), whether they’ve taken security precautions (a slightly different topic but added for completion) or the fact that this information would probably be accessible and available for a long time even after I quit the service.

Today it’s different (completely the opposite to before actually), I’m more wary about my personal information and make an effort to not share too much – at least not with anybody. My eyes are more open to what the big corporates are doing with our data, how personal information can be abused, sold, shared among advertisers like they’re candy bars.

We are no longer anonymous on the Internet, our IP addresses, cookies and logged in sessions are used to identify us at all times. Our online behaviour is used by marketing people and advertisers to “personalise” our experience; gigabytes of data mined, stored and analysed. All to sell us something we don’t want.

Geolocation is becoming mainstream, our every move is tracked, stored and available if a malicious user/hacker or the governments wants it.

As our lives are becoming ever more digital, these issues should grow in importance – especially for the new generation – not be ridiculed by the social media platforms and big corporates like Apple and Google.

Technology is marching forward and that’s a great thing, but information and knowledge about online privacy and security doesn’t seem to keep up with the innovation. The average user still go blissfully unaware of the unwritten contracts you sign when uploading your confidential content to that cloud or use that app.

What can we do? Just pay attention; give as little information as is required when you sign up for sites and think about what information you are sharing and are being stored by the service. Learn some security 101, use a zero-knowledge backup service.

Good luck.

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