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Privacy In The Age Of Digital Social Media

2061 words - 8 pages

The usage of digital technology is always increasing, and the people are aware of it, and are aware of various benefits that technology brings to them. They are always connected, able to contact almost anyone from anywhere, and they have access to the biggest source of information in their pockets. But, people seem to forget one thing - how much data technology creates. Facebook statuses, photo albums, videos, tweets - when reminded, most of people will remember these. But they are not the only data created. For example, Facebook stores information about all activities their users do. They store all messages, even deleted ones, they store all information about all logins, they know the times, places, and the devices you logged in from (Solon, 2012).
At the beginning of the age of Internet, companies wanted to track how many visitors they have. They developed a technique that involved including a beacon - special image or a piece of code - that would be tracked by the server. Each time someone activated the beacon, counter on the server would increment (Clifton, 2008). Although information about visits were tracked, almost no private information were stored. This changed when companies started getting interest in the actual visitors and not the number of page views. Different tracking techniques were developed to track the individual user’s behavior on the web site, mainly to measure variables related to sales, like conversion rates. That was the start of more advanced type of analytics.
In the middle of 2000s, a new trend started, the web started transforming from static documents linked together into an interactive publishing platform. Suddenly, visitors could leave comments on the web, create accounts on various services and share their opinions, photos, recipes, and other. In the web industry, this is known as Web 2.0 (O’Reilly, 2005). On the analytics side, information about the visits are stored, and on the service side, information about the user accounts are stored. When those two are connected, you get information about the visits and about the users that made them. That does not seem like a big problem. After all, almost always, analytics are outsourced to specialized companies and services, like Google Analytics, and user’s did not leave much personal information on the web.
Things started to change in the second half of 2000s. In 2006, Facebook went mainstream. In 2007, the iPhone was released. It was the iPhone that popularized smartphones among the general public. Thanks to Facebook, many people started sharing their full identity online, and thanks to people, Facebook has a big information database about a lot of users’ online activities. When a user registers a profile, he needs to enter his name, e-mail, and a phone number. Phone number is used to confirm that the account is registered by a human, and not a bot programmed to create many accounts that will be used for spam. Most of users connect Facebook to the phone number...

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