Monday, April 09, 2012

Is privacy endangered in today's social networking age?

We live today under a magnifying glass that is Facebook. In today's social networking age, most of our lives can be seen on our Facebook pages, our declarations on Twitter, our images on Tumblr and our locations pinpointed by Foursquare.

So what happens when we have to watch what we say or do because people start judging us based on what they read about us on the Internet? More to the point, just because we put our lives in the public eye on social networks, does that mean our lives become public property? This seems to be the case nowadays with the public intrusion into the private.

Specifically, some employers in the US have been requiring prospective employees to hand over their Facebook passwords in order to do background checks. Worse, some companies even ask their current employees to do the same.

This doesn't sit well with Facebook, of course, as it violates the social networking giant's privacy policies. Facebook has even signaled its intention to sue those companies who force their employees to give up their account passwords. Others agree: US legislators are planning to come out with a law that would forbid employers from seeking such action.

Locally, there's been some controversy about an all-girls conservative Catholic school in the southern province of Cebu banning five students from graduating at their high school commencement exercise. Though the families of the students managed to get a temporary restraining order from court against the school, the school ignored the TRO and blocked the students from attending still.

What reason did the school give for the ban? The students had posted pictures of themselves wearing bikinis on their FB pages while at the beach. (Pictures that were supposedly taken during family outings.)

So what does this mean to us? If we become such open-books to the wider world due to the Internet, it's unfortunate that we would also leave ourselves wide open to the judgment of people who see us and who have no qualms in forcing us to do what they say (whether it's our employer or our school).

Chunka Mui, a writer for Forbes, blames Facebook for the problem given that they're willing to mine this treasure trove of data but aren't willing to let others do the same.

However, I like to think that with any other invention of great impact--regardless of intention--there will always be good and bad spots. In this case, a new kind of Pandora's box is now open and we have to adapt to the new monsters unleashed into the world with such an invention. Hopefully, we will find the new hope released to be worth it, too.

View the original article here

Source From CNET

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