Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Privacy in a Social Media Era

By Matt Saler

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines privacy as “freedom from unauthorized intrusion”… but in today’s evolving world of Google, Facebook, and everything else, it’s time that definition gets modified.

There is a phenomenal article in PC World this week that discusses this exact topic, focusing in on how privacy is at the center of this new social media universe.

The article does a great job of summing it up:

…privacy is subjective. There is no clear answer because my definition of privacy may not be the same as your definition of privacy… people just want control over when and how their information is shared.

Social networking sites are an extreme example because, by definition, they exist to share information socially. However, all businesses are entrusted with data of some kind and have an obligation to protect it. It is important that organizations understand that privacy is not dead, and it is important to keep user concerns regarding privacy in mind while adapting to evolving technology.

The article also talks about a case where a high school was the subject of pretty incriminating accusations. Recently, the high school that I attended (not our proudest moment) was under fire...

...when it implemented the ability to enable the webcam on laptops issued to students without their knowledge or consent. Does the obligation of the school to monitor extend to a right for the school to watch students getting dressed in the morning?

If these allegations are true, the line of privacy has been crossed on a variety of levels and those accused must be punished accordingly.

So must the concept of privacy now have to adapt and change with modern society? Has modern technology killed privacy altogether?

For society’s sake, lets hope not.

Matt Saler is an Account Executive. Contact him at matt@maroonpr.com.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr's alancleaver_2000

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