Social networking sites play an important role in every industry now, and your private life isn’t so private anymore. Most companies have some sort of social network site, and they almost have to in order to be successful nowadays. We live during a time when people can obtain information quickly via the Internet and social networking sites, which is both good and bad. The question is, to what extent is the information someone posts online private? You hear horror stories about students getting turned down for jobs because companies get on their Facebook and see private information; this issue has always bugged me because it seems wrong.
Now our privacy can be invaded in secret with the greatest of ease. The New York Times recently ran an article called: “Twitter Shines a Spotlight on Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas,” which mentioned that federal prosecutors have actually demanded information from Twitter about certain users in a case they investigating. They were able to do this by obtaining a secret subpoena from a federal court, and they were able to request this information without the knowledge of the people being investigated. Apparently, these types of cases are a lot more common then everyone thinks, and there are similar instances with Google and Facebook daily. One of the biggest reasons this has become so easy for the government to do is because of the US Patriot Act, and the fight against terrorism and espionage.
Internet privacy has become a massive concern because of issues like this; however, how truly private should information be when someone posts it online? For example, if I post a picture of myself and a couple other of-age friends drinking alcoholic beverages, should companies be allowed to use these pictures against me? I suppose it depends on the picture, but it’s still a scary thought that our personal lives could be called into question and held against us for completely unrelated purposes.
Also, should social network sites be allowed to sell private information to third parties? Our information is truly valuable and these social network sites have a lot of it they could sell to make a quick buck. People need to understand that the Internet is a public forum and anything that they post can (and probably will) be used against them.
However, even though there is certain information that should be kept private, we can’t rely on Facebook or on any other websites to do this for us. If we want privacy, then we have to learn to keep certain things to ourselves!
What do you think, how much should the government is able to use these social websites to obtain information in cases like the one mentioned above? What information should be private and what should be fair game?
A lot of questions here, I’m afraid, and I don’t seem to have all of the answers. Maybe YOU can help….