Ep 43 of 2010
October 25, 2010
Online privacy is becoming quite a hot topic, with the rise and rise of social networking as well as the proliferation on new smart mobile phones. Smart phones aside, there is still plenty that needs to be said about protecting your identity online, as well as keeping your personal details close to your chest.
There are many organizations that keep tabs on what you do on line. Google and Facebook are just two. The problem is, it's the sites that don't tell you what they're up to, or bury their privacy policies in the masses of fine print, that raise the most cause for concern. If you're a Google user and have a Google account, your web search history is stored in your Google account. Sure you have to be logged in to iGoogle or Gmail for it to be active, but the point is, this information is collected by default. In some countries such as the US, default opt in is allowed, unlike Australia, where it is forbidden. Here, we're lucky that regulators made it this way, but our laws don't apple outside Australia, so you must keep that in mind. To check just what data Google is storing about your online activity, log in to your account and click the "View data stored with this account" link under personal settings.
Facebook is another cause for concern, and probably more so than Google. Recently the social network giant has come under increasing attack about privacy. In an effort to way lay concerns, Facebook has made an effort to simplify its privacy settings, but even then, the default options are still less than desirable.
Facebook is notified whenever you visit one of the more than one million sites on the web that use Facebook Connect and has a history of leaking personally identifiable information to third parties. Facebook Connect is a type of data portability technology that enables users of the social networking site to connect their Facebook account with any partner Web site. Using Facebook Connect, members will be able to use their Facebook identity across the Web, including profile photos, name, friends, groups, events, and more. It's the "more" part that sounds scary and should say "date of birth" and "address". Not wanting to sound alarmist, if you have a nice shiny new Smartphone, the contacts database can become dynamic.
Simply by linking a friends contact to their face book account with the touch of an icon, your Smartphone will automatically pull in all the personal information it can from Facebook, including birthdays, street addresses, in fact, almost everything it can find! It's this level of prying that no-one makes you aware of that is the most frightening.
If a crook wants to steal your identity and he or she can find out your full name, address and date of birth online, then keep an eye on you habits on your Facebook wall, well, it makes it pretty easy. Now chances are, I'm preaching to the converted, but there are millions out there, young and old alike, that need to be made aware of protecting their identity on the online world. We don't leave our drivers license out on display for the world to see when we're in a café, so why do the same online?
This week on Tech Talk Radio
- All eyes on Cupertino last week as Apple goes back to the Mac
- Adam Turner travels north for a first-hand look at Nokia's new N8 offering
- US Television broadcasters block Google TV.
- Kaspersky website falls victim to malware attack
- New versions of Chrome and Firefox launched, and
- Telstra shakes up the prepaid wireless broadband market again.