Saturday, January 15, 2011

Private Vs. Secret: Losing Control of Identities

“If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I cannot agree with this statement because I feel like people should have the option to enjoy themselves the way they want to without having to worry about what others are thinking.  Even if we weren’t heavily involved in the internet, all humans carry on different identities.  Most of us act one way around friends, one way around family, and a totally different way while at work.  There are things that my family knows that my friends don’t know.  I think that is perfectly acceptable because family is forever whereas you can change friends at any time.  In the same way, my friends and family know that I drink socially whereas I would rather keep that knowledge out of the work atmosphere.  Information like that could potentially hinder me from getting a job. 

I believe that things that are both private and secret require some knowledge to not be discovered by other people.  However, privacy has some public aspects to it.  The public part could be that you know I have a bank account.  The private aspect is that you don’t know how much I have in the account or the pin.  Secrets, on the other hand, are things that are in hiding that you should have absolutely no knowledge of.  It could be something like a surprise birthday party or if you cheat on your partner.

At the end of the day, I think we should be able to control our private affairs even though there’s some public aspect to it.  I think certain things should only be open if the person allows it to be open.  That’s the whole point of privacy.  If we lose control, then we no longer have privacy.

How to navigate privacy in Cyberspace

Flashback to a time where the only worry about privacy that you had was to just lock your front door of your home. Those days are long, long, gone. Now if you want to post your life out there you can do so if you chose to. What I find interesting is how Vannevar Bush dreamed of a machine that could vasts amounts of information at our fingertips but I do not believe he would foreseen what the government started using a way to keep in communication from a possible nuclear war into a standard that is part of everyone's life.

When looking for a job, as we all inch closer to graduation, we have to constantly filter and watch what we post. First impressions are what make or break us. The more people can know about "cyber you" the one that has posts about how much you hate sitting in traffic or pictures of you at a hockey game with a beer in your hand, the more people who are looking at your pictures and posts can make a opinion without knowing the real you, the hard-working college student. this site here helps with your navigate the privacy of the internet. There are many aspects of the internet that are still unknown. Information on the internet changes in the blink of a eye. When it comes to privacy, I believe the more the better. It keeps your true self in order and what is important around you personal.
When you graduate from college or whatever life takes you it is imperative to keep your personal and cyber life away from each other.

Private vs Secret

I stand in the middle of the road regarding the statement that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been quoted as saying. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." It is not about what you don't want other people to know it is more about what you want or are willing to share.

After reading both the assigned articles regarding Privacy, I decided to Google: Privacy vs Publicity to see more about what is out there. after review many of different articles on the subject. I came across an article written by Herman T Tavani, back in April 2000 called Privacy and the Internet.

The following quote caught by eye: "Clarke (1999) has recently suggested that privacy can be thought of as an "Interest individuals have in sustaining personal space free from interference by other people and organizations." I believe with most people that it is an interest and a way of expressing there self's, as most people with there friends vs wanting the whole world to know what and how they are doing anything.

There is a difference between private and secret. As with private: is the wish to remain unnoticed or unidentified in the public like were you go on vacation or shop, who you are dating and secret: is something that is kept hidden from others or known only to oneself or to a select few that you wish to tell like how much you make or your personal family business. How much information are you willing to share or want to be public knowledge?

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.

"The Differences Between Private and Secret"

To begin, I must say that I disagree with Eric Schmidt's statement that "if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." People should have the right to do what they want online and have their some information be kept secret. Now, this is a broad topic of course and I'm not advocating that online behavior be kept totally a secret (because not ALL online behavior is good, like posting nude pictures of children) but people should be given a choice as to whether or not they want their information tracked and/or broadcasted.

Now, there IS a difference between private and secret. Private means personal and not publicly expressed; confidential (only belonging to ONE particular person). Secret means done, made, or constructed without the knowledge of others. In effect, private means that a person's information is supposed to legally be kept to themselves while "secret" offers a chance for people to eventually find out, and that something is merely being kept hidden for a time being.

I feel that loosening up privacy controls and more open displays of what were once considered private behaviors on the web is an unethical thing to do. Reason being, many people forget that their online behavior can be displayed by millions of people and that doesn't mean that they should be punished for it. Even as I sit here typing this blog response, I am the only person who knows I am doing this (and you will as well when you see the final product), but that doesn't mean the whole world should know that I am currently making a blog post. As open as the Internet is, people reserve the right to keep their cyberspace activities hidden from the public.

According to the article by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Privacy is necessary for the development of varied and meaningful interpersonal relationships. Discussion of the concept [privacy] is complicated by the fact that privacy appears to be something we value to provide a sphere within which we can be free from interference by others." I definitely agree with that statement. Privacy protection should at least be reminded to all users of the Internet and people should have more legitimate ways to control what can or cannot be seen.

Danah Boyd's article, "Making Sense of Provacy and Publicity," leaves readers with an interesting thought that best sums up how people should treat private and public matters on the web.

"Each of you - as designers, as marketers, as parents, as users - needs to think through the implications and ethics of your decisions, of what it means to invade someone's privacy, or how your presumptions about someone's publicity may actually affect them. You are shaping the future. How you handle these challenging issues will affect a generation. Make sure you're creating the future you want to live in."

In the end, we're all responsible for our actions online whether they are private or secret. The best way to sum up my point is that people should be allowed to have their own privacy online whether they want to keep things secretive or not. The Internet is simply a world away from our current one, and in both lives, people should retain the opportunity to keep things to themselves. And to think, I always thought that privacy was one of the beauties of cyberspace.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Privacy Settings Could Ruin Your Life?

I disagree with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's quote, "If you have something that you dont't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Everyone is entitled to have their privacy, and people should be wise enough if they don't want their information to be public, then they need to watch what they post online.

The other night I was watching "The Facebook Obsession" on CNBC and it was based on how Facebook has changed people's lives either for the better or for worse. This one lady was a high school teacher, and she had come home and posted a Facebook status about the parents of her students. The teacher didn't realize that her status was public and that anyone that had a Facebook could see her status. She hadn't checked her privacy settings so she didn't know it was set that all Facebook users could view her profile. She ended up losing her job over it, and felt that Facebook had ruined her entire life.

I think there is a difference between something being private, and something being secret. For example, teachers have tehir private lives that they wouldn't want their students or parents of those students to know about. That's their private personal life, and its their business. If a teacher chooses to put his or her personal life on the web, than they have to deal with the consquences that will occur if others see this information. I think that when the internet loosens the privacy setting, everyone needs to reevaluate what they are posting on the web. I have had friends that have lost jobs, or haven't been hired because of things that were posted on their Facebook. College coaches search student- athletes Facebooks to see if they are engaging in any activities that aren't allowed.
Here is the entire story with video

Overall, I think that the web has evolved a lot over the years, and it has been for the better. I think that people need to double check what their posting on the web before they actually post it. It is a lot easier for people to access information on others through the internet and in some cases it could result in causing major problems for the person who had posted the material. I don't think its reasonable for users to blame the internet for problems that occur due to things they have posted, I think that they need to take some responsiblity for their own actions and realize the consquences before they post something. If you post something that could "ruin your life", then chances are it shouldn't have be posted on the web anyways.

This story about the Facebook privacy settings really caught my eye and I thought it was interesting:

What do you think about the privacy settings online? Do you agree that people should watch what they post online? Or do you thinhk that the privacy settings need to be set higher and have more restrictions to certain viewers?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First blog post: On privacy

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been quoted as saying, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Now that you've read quite a bit about the origins of the Internet and definitions of "privacy," do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Is there a difference between "private" and "secret"? After all, there are lots of things that aren't secret - going to the bathroom, for example - that usually we still would like to be private.

So, in other words, how do you feel about some of the loosening of privacy controls and more open displays of what were once considered private behaviors on the web? 

The best posts will specifically reference the readings in your reply.

DUE: Wednesday,  January 19th