Privacy Commission wary of Facebook

  • 03/05/2010

By Jane Luscombe

The threat to our privacy from online social media has grown so serious, that New Zealand has helped to form a global group to take on the web giants.

It comes as advances in technology throw up new concerns.

In the future you will be able to check out total strangers using your mobile phone and find out who they are, what they're interested in and who they're friends with – and even whether they're single.

Work is already underway on combining image recognition software with something called augmented reality. Between them they'll enable you to point your phone at someone and instantly download personal details from their Facebook, Twitter or other social network account.

A Privacy Commission survey found 45 percent of Kiwis willingly put personal information online using social media websites. But they might not be so thrilled for strangers in the street to access those details before they've even been introduced.

The commission has got a new weapon to target problems of privacy. It has helped set up the Global Privacy Enforcement Network to defend our personal details, no matter where the threat comes from.

“Google and Facebook keep saying things like privacy is dead,” says Marie Shroff, privacy commissioner. “I think that's a premature death notice.”

Though it doesn't help when 57 percent of people surveyed mistakenly thought social networks were private.

“My simple piece of advice about social networking is think before you upload,” says Ms Shroff. “You are uploading into a public space.”

Blogger Courtney Lambert says people also need to understand these websites come at another cost.

“What they are doing is taking your browsing data and other personal information so they can use it for advertising and other loyalty schemes.”

While the technology races ahead, Vodafone is trying to guide customers back to the good old days when we actually talked to each other.

“We believe that talking develops relationships further, there's a depth in the art of conversation,” says Aaron Beckman.

And it's much easier to control who you talk to.

3 News

source: newshub archive