Monday, February 6, 2012

Your digital identity

In complementary articles, a New York Times opinion article published on Sunday and another thought piece from marketing specialist Patricia Vaccarino make the same essential point as I do in Advice From A Risk Detective:  Digitally, you are what you post, how you search and what you like on the Internet.  Vaccarino states it so eloquently:

As much as I have cautioned clients, colleagues, family and friends about being prudent and to exercise good judgment about what to post on Facebook, I am constantly amazed by the embarrassing things people put out there for the whole world to see. And if you think that your privacy settings will protect you from the predatory nature of the algorithms, then you deserve to be called a lemming looking for the highest cliff.   

When you like something, keep in mind that you have given your consent for your name, image and likeness to be used as an endorsement in any context.   Your photo can be used anywhere and you might be in the company of other people that you do not want to be associated with. When all the lemmings line up, you might be giving away a part of yourself that can be used in a most unflattering context or pose. Remember, algorithms have no heart. Be careful what you show, post, like and say. Lemmings never see the cliff until it's too late.

I believe that security and privacy settings are essential,  and that not liking unknown sites or using third party applications on sites like Facebook also help reduce the confusion about where data about you might be coming from.   I say all this as we prepare for Google's new privacy policy to roll out...though it looks like it might have been slowed down slightly by a European court ruling.  More on Google's privacy policy tomorrow.

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