Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is Private? What is Secret?

When I first started to think about this topic of being "private" or "secret," a lot of different thoughts and examples went through my head. Of course, the first one I thought of was Facebook, which is the number one social networking site in the world. I started to think about my own Facebook page and if I have anything on there that I would be ashamed of or didn't want people to see. After I thought about it, no, there isn't anything on my Facebook that I am embarrassed or ashamed of on there. If I was, then why would I post it on a social networking site? Facebook has evolved into a social networking site that allows you to keep certain information hidden. I personally took my name off of being searched just because the people that I want to be friends with, already are my friends on there. However, when I really thought about Eric Schmidt's quote, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," I had to disagree with it. My reasoning of disagreeing with it is because there is so much technology out there now-a-days and people can find a way around the system and through a loop hole. What I mean by this is that even though you choose to keep some "secret" or "private," there is always a way to somehow find out whether its through the internet or if it leeks out through a different source.

What really shocked me and brought to my attention is when Schmidt openly admitted that "there are cases where the search giant is forced to release your personal data." This immediately caught my eye and got me curious on what actually went on in a google search engine. I typed in my name "Eric Ely" on google to see what would come up. On the first page of results it was nothing that dealt with me personally. However, I went to the second page and I was the sixth link on that page. The site was a link to my Facebook and before I even clicked on the link, it said five people who I was friends with. When I clicked on my name, it showed my display picture and a few of my friends. I was never aware that this was possible so I immediately went in and disabled myself from the search engine. I thought I already did this before, but it turns out that was only for when people searched me through the Facebook search engine.

When I think of "private" versus "secret," I do believe they are different from one another. I think of secret as something that someone told to someone else that they don't want anybody else to know about but it always ends up leaking out through rumors. It reminds me of when I was in middle school and when people used to find out certain things about one another. I feel as if a secret is never really a secret for long. Private, on the other hand, is different from secret. I feel as if private is someone's own personal business and only their business until they make it public to others. This relates back to Eric Schmidt's quote. After I just read what I wrote, I feel as if my decision of agreeing or disagreeing with him is right in the middle. There are some parts that I disagree with him on, but at the same time, there a few points that I do agree with him on such as why post stuff on the internet that you don't want anybody to see?

Overall, I believe the internet has expanded drastically in the past couple of years and people are still trying to catch up with it. I feel as if the internet is trying to come up with more reliable privacy controls that don't allow people to find ways around them. I wouldn't be surprised if most social networking sites, such as Facebook, charge a small fee to allow people to protect their profile and information better. There are some sites that allow you to see peoples personal information. An example of one of these sites is It allows someone to see your name, address, phone number, email, age, house income, social networking profiles, photos, hobbies, and more. These sites can be very dangerous and I personally took my name off of this site as well. The internet is starting to get smarter and more clever so people are trying to match up with them. "Privacy" and "secret" sound a lot a like but however, they are different.


  1. First like to thank you for the information about I will definitly be checking it out and taking my name off as well. I agree with your statement that there are many ways for people to get around most if not all privacy settings that are in place on the internet right know. But with the technology change as fast as you can turn around, there should and are in the progress of inventing more ways to help in keeping most of your information private.

  2. I was just made aware of spokeo last week in another class. I wasn't really shocked because there are a few sites just like that. Also, I have used the online version of The White Pages to locate people. Sure to get the real dirt most of those sites want you to pay, but the bottom line is the "dirt" is available! Eric, one thing when entering your name on Google is popularity. Eric Ely (although not you) could lead in results claiming a person with the same name as a felon, child molester, porn star, you get the idea. That could have huge ramifications for a future employer, especially if they haven't met you in person! You are for sure pointing in the right direction in monitoring your Facebook!