Are You Really Secure When Someone Else Owns Your Data?

Do you like taking pictures as you go throughout your day? Do you like giving your opinion when you see something on TV? Or do you like being able to talk to old friends from the past and see how they are doing now? Well if you do enjoy any of these things then there is a good chance that you will enjoy one of the many social networks that are out there. And the most likely truth is that according to the numbers there is a good chance that you are already on one of these types of web sites.


Social networking has exploded in the past few years. And it is not only in the teenage or the young adult set where it has exploded. In all demographics and all age brackets, social networking is big and it is only predicted to get bigger. There is no stopping this giant juggernaut and for the most part that is a good thing. It seems that people are having a lot fun on these types of web site so what can possibly go wrong? While for the most part they are there for fun and enjoyment, like anything else there is a dark side to websites like these as well.

While there are other security issues on websites like these to deal with, a big security issue to deal with that we are going to talk about in this article is the lack of ownership on these types of websites. And not only are we going to talk about the lack of ownership but the fact that you also have a lack of real privacy on these types of websites. I am not talking about privacy from other members. Sure, there are many ways where you can make items private. I am talking about the lack of privacy when it comes to how they can use the data that you posted on the website. That data does not stay in a vacuum and if you read a lot of the terms and conditions before you use these types of website you will see that you have given them permission to do what they want with your data.

How your privacy is affected

While a company like Facebook or Twitter has a lot to lose when it comes to abuse of the data that they now possess it does not mean that they will not try to push the boundaries of what they can and cannot do. A service like Facebook has already had pushback from the people who use the service several times because the people did not like what the company was doing with their data. For example, a few years ago many of the users of the site made a big stink because Facebook was going to give advertisers even more leeway with your private data than they already did. This did not make a lot of users of the site feel good so they had a massive protest. Well massive as far as social networks go.

But this is how Facebook will end up making all of the money that people expect it to do. The only real advantage that it has over competitors right now is that it knows so much about you. It is able to give advertisers a look into the window of your mind that little other services on the internet are able to do. They can easily see your likes and dislikes and respond accordingly. So there is no way that Facebook and other social networks are not going to sell your data. They will lose too much money not doing it. The problem there is that you do not know who they are selling the data to.

But back to ownership

So while I think you are starting to see the problem with privacy when it comes to these social networks, once again let’s show you the problem of ownership. We will use Facebook once again for an example of our point. In your mind, as long as you share items on Facebook that are legal and not smutty then you should be able to get away with it, right? Well that is not true. It seems as always, smut is in the eye of the beholder. A few months ago there was a protest on Facebook because the service was taking down pictures of mothers breast feeding. This caused an uproar with a lot of women groups because breastfeeding is supposed to be considered a natural part of life. And facebook considered it porn. So now they were no longer able to share this special moment with the rest of their family and friends. This is what happens when you have no ownership of the data that you post. They can take it down whenever they like.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites are great but they do have their negative points. Make sure that you know this before you start posting data on there.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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