#Phonar Session 1 – “Is my data showing in this?” Reflection.

Reading this article made me consider privacy and security in ways I hadn’t before. As internet users there is no hiding from the fact that once we put information out there, we have little control of it beyond the point of submission. But beyond knowing this, do make an effort to filter what we do put online?

“Although we often think of trust, privacy/anonymity and security in concert, perhaps even as synonymous, they’re each discreet concepts. Even a cast iron guarantee of one doesn’t mean we can rely unequivocally on any of the others.”

Does security = privacy? If we are able to protect our information from being seen by certain people, does that mean it’s kept private? For example a number of social networking sites allow you to control security over who can see your information. If we keep our photos and statuses hidden from the world but still share it with our friends, it still doesn’t make it private. How can we expect to use social networks if we want privacy? The two don’t mix, regardless of the level of security. If you expect for something to be kept private, you wouldn’t share it with others.

“I have to trust other drivers to abide by traffic laws when I take my children to school. I have to trust that the teachers at their school will teach and care for them during the day. This enables me to go to work and specialise as a photography teacher of still other people’s kids. I trust that my employer will in turn pay me for doing so and if they don’t, then I have to trust that the law will serve to force them.”

This really opened my eyes on how much trust we put into other people in order to be able to live our own lives. When I think of trust, I think of a personal connection with somebody close to you. Telling them something and expecting them to keep it secret. Private. I have never considered how we expect others to follow this ‘social structure’ in order for something else to happen. This chain reaction of trust is so crucial for a basic day to day function. We put our trust in people expecting the security of it happening. Barbara Misztal says “trust makes social life more predictable, it creates a sense of community and it makes it easier for people to work together”. Social life becomes predictable because we are used to that security we expect from trusting somebody. I think we take for granted how much we expect from people in order for things to function for ourselves. Trust expands so much further than just in a friendship.

“We had trustingly packed our data like messages into bottles and cast them out into the sea, ignorant of where that data will wash up in the future and of the consequences”. 

I love this analogy of how in the past we may have put out any information without worrying how it could come back to bite us in the ass in the future! We put our messages, thoughts, feelings out there as at the time that was what was important, what you wanted to be said. Now you look back and wonder why you ever shared those things, how negatively they can reflect upon you. I honestly think this boils down to maturity and this leads to questioning what is a suitable age for children to start using things like Facebook and Twitter, where they can say what is on their mind but they might look back and cringe in sheer embarrassment a number of years later. Did we subconsciously trust in the Internet that this data would not come back to haunt us?

“My buying habits weren’t analysed by insurance companies and no prospective employer was able to drill into the soap opera of my social media profile for the backstory on my resume.”

Today we can no longer browse on the Internet for something we would potentially buy, without seeing it on the right hand side of our browser window hours later when looking at something else. Whilst things become tailored to our potential wants and needs, shouldn’t we have the option to turn this off? Can we not take a look at something, decide we can’t afford it and then be haunted by it all day? We also have no idea whether potential employers choose to take a look at our social networks to get a feel for our personality before they even meet us. Can we not tweet our true thoughts on controversial topics without it portraying you in an ‘unemployable’ light? These are both an invasion of our privacy. However by using the Internet, should we expect this to happen as we are feeding our interests into the world wide web?

Where do we draw the line when it comes to our personal information? How do we have any right to retract our information from something, if we didn’t properly read the terms and conditions telling us they have the right to own it? There is a lot more than meets the eye when using the Internet, some of it introduced to me just by reading this article. Trust, privacy and security play a huge part of our every use of the net and we are given permission to a certain extent of each of these. However for the rest of it, the Internet takes control and as the digital world continues to progress, there seems to be no indication of whether this could ever change and may essentially just get worse.

“With no established norms or protocols for dealing with “our” big inconsequential data, we’re just going to have to make this up as we go along.”

“Is my data showing in this?” can be read here.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on October 3, 2014.

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