No Lifeguard on Duty. Post at Your Own Risk.
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Elizabeth Lauten Fail

1 Dec

“For Lauten, and anyone else who gets caught online saying something they wish they could take back (it’s the internet, you can NEVER take it back, muahahahahahaha), just remember this simple rule when issuing your public statements:

Treat the people you are apologizing to as if they are actual people, not pixels on a page. Say I’m sorry directly to them, acknowledge it was poor behavior, and promise to be better next time.

Then, make sure you do just that.”

TED Talk on Online Identity (Permanent as a Tattoo)

9 Sep

“What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long? In this short talk, Juan Enriquez looks at the surprisingly permanent effects of digital sharing on our personal privacy. He shares insight from the ancient Greeks to help us deal with our new “digital tattoos.”

(This is a great watch. B)

Facebook and the Ethics Parade

8 Sep

I’ve sat back and watched the Parade for the last couple of years, partly because of my own life stuff, partly because I realized nobody was reading this. That’s ok. I’ve realized that people want to do their social networking how they want to do it and they don’t like to be told, even in kind helpful ways, how that should be done. While I was watching the Parade go by, there was a lot of hoopla about the NSA. Mostly, I was neither surprised nor alarmed the way that many people seemed to be, partly because of my research, and partly because I’m frankly more concerned about what corporations are doing with my online activities. Despite what I say elsewhere on this blog about how, as public employees the government legitimately has more access to our information than most people, I think the marketing world takes far more, and more objectionable, liberties. A recent article entitled Facebook and the UnEthics and Human Trafficking  talks at length about recent intrusions into our personal lives of a marketing nature. Not to seem blase, but it’s not like I didn’t know this sort of thing happens, or could happen. It’s not like there is anything in place to protect us from it.

This blog features a little “No lifeguard on duty” logo that my friend Daniel kindly created for me. It’s a really simple concept to remind people that nobody is watching out for you while you’re posting or commenting (or really doing anything) online. The reality is, most of us really are all sort of walking around in a giant worldwide nudist colony without realizing it. There’s not really a good logo for that, or I suppose there could be, but it might make people blush. I could have posted probably hundreds of articles over the past 4 years about how easy it is to make an idiot of yourself online, yet people keep doing it. Even people who have claimed to read this blog.  And I could have posted another few hundred about how a variety of people, parties, companies, and government interests have access to everything we do online, yet people keep acting like that’s not the case, like what they do here happens in a bubble that only they or the people they care about can see. I admit myself flummoxed, and honestly a little hopeless, that anything I can say or have said here will change that. Even with things like Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos being sold to the highest bidder, people are going to keep sending each other naked pictures on their smart phones.

You could say we can’t seem to help ourselves. It feels like freedom, all that online nudity.

But freedom has its price.

I, for one, just spend a lot less time online than I used to. That’s been a lot more freeing for me.  I’ve surprisingly not only survived, but thrived. I’ve just found my life to be a lot richer when I’m not constantly engaging in the observation and the analysis that is the Worldwide Web and its ethics-free zone mentality. Try it. Unplug. However, if you do come back to it from time to time, just realize that the rules haven’t changed, they’ve probably become even more problematic, and I’d personally rather be pinching petunias, cuddling someone I love,  or playing the piano. (I couldn’t think of a P word for cuddling). Anyway, carry on Brave Marching Band! Parades are often highly entertaining, but I don’t want to be around when someone has to clean up to horse crap.

11 things hiring managers won’t tell you

18 Apr

…That hot guy you added on Facebook last week? Yeah, that was me.

We’ve heard for years how important protecting your online image can be and that companies may try to search for you before making a hiring decision. What we haven’t heard are some of the ways they’ll get you to open up your social media profile.

“I’ll add several of her friends, so we have several friends in common, and then I’ll add her,” one hiring manager told us. “I now have access to her profile, wall posts, status updates and even those photos from her trip to Cancun she thought were private…”

Read more here!

Ayman Al-Abdullah

16 April 2012

This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy [Update]

6 Apr

…“How can Apple let people download an app like this?” she asked. “And have you written about this?”

In answer to the first question, I replied that as sleazy as this app seemed, Girls Around Me wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Sure, on the surface, it looks like a hook-up app like Grindr for potential stalkers and date rapists, but all that Girls Around Me is really doing is using public APIs from Google Maps, Facebook and Foursquare and mashing them all up together, so you could see who had checked-in at locations in your area, and learn more about them. Moreover, the girls (and men!) shown in Girls Around Me all had the power to opt out of this information being visible to strangers, but whether out of ignorance, apathy or laziness, they had all neglected to do so. This was all public information. Nothing Girls Around Me does violates any of Apple’s policies.

In fact, Girls Around Me wasn’t even the real problem.

“It’s not, really, that we’re all horrified by what this app does, is it?” I asked, finishing my drink. “It’s that we’re all horrified by how exposed these girls are, and how exposed services like Facebook and Foursquare let them be without their knowledge.”

But I didn’t have an easy answer ready for my friend’s last question. I’d been playing with the app for almost two months. Why hadn’t I written about it? None of the answers made me look good.

Part of it was because, like many tech professionals, I had taken for granted that people understood that their Facebook profiles and Foursquare data were publicly visible unless they explicitly said otherwise… and like my beardo Diaspora friend, I secretly believed that people who were exposed this way on the Internet without their knowledge were foolish…

Read more here!

John Brownlee

30 March 2012