My 4/04/10 Missoulian column
This week I’m wrapping up my long-running series about online privacy with a recap of some of the high points of the last three months.
Probably the most important point when considering your privacy online is that you need to be proactive and look out for yourself. That means learning how different online services use your private data, what’s in their privacy policies and how they may change.
But overall, it’s simple: most online businesses and services are not looking out for your best interests. Check any of the recent news about Google’s Buzz, Facebook’s privacy changes, et al, and you’ll realize that in the push to gather personal data for marketing, much of the time it’s the private data of the user that are compromised.
It’s important to read each end user license agreement to be aware of what you click away when you use an online service. And even before you join a new service or social network, decide if you really need it, because that service will be one more vector into your privacy.
Looking out for yourself online also means learning the tools and methods to stay private online. Be aware of the mechanics of privacy: how Web browser cookies store private data and how to manage them, and how to use the private browsing modes of Web browsers. If you need more privacy, use a Web proxy service, but be aware that even proxies aren’t completely private.
Be aware of the changing legal landscape: the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, both nonprofits that work for the public interest and monitor federal legislation pertaining to privacy, of which there are some important pending laws.
Do you think only your friends will see those photos and read those late night keyboard ramblings? According to a study by Microsoft, 70 percent of United States managers said they have rejected candidates based on what they found on social networks.
All of my past columns in this privacy series are at available at the Missoulian Web site. or in my Missoulian archives or by search.
This week in Mac Q & A: Using Two Email Addresses with Apple Mail