Student Writing: Your privacy at risk!

A guest post from one of my brilliant students on Internet Privacy.

Post #7: Your privacy at risk!.

How much do you value your online privacy? Do you think by keeping your privacy settings on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn up to date, that your personal information is protected?  Do you think that no one is tracking your every click online?  Think again.

Your personal data is stored in corporate databases, along with the websites you visit, and effectively shared and sold to advertisers. Profiling your demographics and interests lead to customized promotions displayed and delivered to you. The real question is, “Do you think this is okay or not?”

Navigating through the mass amounts of media messages can be overwhelming at the very least, so perhaps having ads tailored to one’s preferences is a positive feature of online advertising.  According to Dave Barrowcliff’s Prediction #8 in his December, 2011 article Digital Predictions for 2012 in Contagious Magazine, “As adoption of social media becomes more widespread, it will function as a more accurate barometer of consumer opinion. This is the age of Big Data and brands will capitalize on it.”

Track that data over time and what do you have? Web 3.0. Where many experts believe that future browsers will act more like a personal assistant, responding to your requests with integrated recommendations based on your online profile and navigation history. “Successful players will be those who learn to merge real-time data from media plans with analytics and creative evaluation to optimize online advertising,” states Barrowcliff in his 12th Prediction.

It’s all good then, right? Before you make your final determination, consider this statement by University of Pennsylvania professor Joseph Turow in his new book, The Daily You:

 “Advertisements, discounts, information, and entertainment are increasingly customized by a largely invisible industry on the basis of a vast amount of information that we likely don’t realize it is collecting as a result of social profiles and reputations it assigns us and never discloses, and about which we are likely ignorant.”

The Atlantic details an extensive excerpt from Turow’s book that is worth reading before you decide. Just keep in mind, the choice of what you share online is ultimately yours.


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