Thursday, January 3, 2013

Educate, Think and Identify Yourself

Goldsmith and Wu (2008) along with Vaidhayanthan (2011) offer great insight to information accountability and privacy. The authors make you think about the present situation of the web and contemplate the future with regards to information accountability and privacy. I offer three recommendations for users in reference to information accountability and privacy.

1. Educate yourself. Your information and privacy is only as safe as you allow it to be. All users should know and understand social engineering tactics along with SPAM techniques. This year alone, I had eleven individuals who fell into a social engineering scam and replied to a SPAM with their username and password. Their accounts were compromised and used to send out additional SPAM. It took a long time to clean up the mess, because companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft along with ISPs blacklisted either the account or our domain. I had to make several phone calls to straighten out the debacle. Again, if the individuals would have educated themselves to the signs of SPAM, they would not have fallen victim to the scam.

2. Think for yourself. Don’t be a drone and allow someone else to do your thinking for you. Again first you need to educate yourself with a variety of resources, not just Google. View both sides of the argument and make educated decisions from your own judgment. When a CEO says, “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next…,” I would proceed with caution (Vaidhayanathan, 2011, p. 200). In order for the world to operate correctly, we need to be independent thinkers. Independent thinkers help create a checks and balances to ensure a stable existence.

3. Identify yourself. Let’s face it, your privacy is diminishing quicker than you can anticipate. Your information is released in an unidentified manner, but an individual can take multiple data releases and re-identify you along with the information attached to you. It is possible to create two identities. For instances, the real me (Jason Murray) and my digital identity like in Second Life (Murtek). However, even these identities are being placed together. Google’s new privacy policy allows them to combine information about you on several of their services. In addition, they are combining multiple identities into just one database primary key. Now my Jason Murray account is associated with my Murtek account in Google. Therefore, identity yourself. Its fine to have multiple identities, but don’t do something bad with one identity because it will eventually get back to your employer due to the identity linkage. Multiple identities are fine to identify yourself in different realms of your life, like real world and digital world; however, organizations will know that either identity is still you.

The best advice I can suggest is be smart about the information that you release to web sites, web 2.0 tools, and corporations. The best way to be smart about this is to educate yourself. You must think for yourself and develop a plan for your information. Once you have your plan, then identify yourself according to your plan.


Goldsmith, J. and Wu, T. (2008). Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World. Oxford University Press: New York.

Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry). University of California Press: Los Angeles, CA.

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