3/29/2017

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Your Privacy

Social media networks are great for keeping up with the activities of family members and colleagues, making new friends and staying in contact with old ones, sharing ideas and resources, and generating business opportunities. If you own a computer and have internet connections, chances are that you have an account with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or any of the dozens of other social media networks.

Around the world, millions of people own or have access to computers. The number of internet users is growing by the day due to cheaper computers and software, the implementation of advanced technology that is easier to learn and understand, and the popularity of computers as a whole.

One of the issues that has becomes apparent with social networking is that you have to be very careful with the information you put out there for the world to see. Many people don't mind airing their feelings over the internet about their husbands, wives, children, their families, their jobs, politics, religion, their spending habits, sexual preferences, and anything else that comes across their minds while they are sitting in front of the computer.

The problem with the collection of personal data over the internet is that it creates a market for people with all types of motives, some good and some bad. Social media networks collect and distribute sensitive data to almost anyone who is willing to pay for it. This data is easy to get because internet users willingly put it out there for others to see and use.

For internet users, this is a real cause for concern. Studies show that there is a widespread lack of controls by social media organizations that can put you at risk. The data, in many cases, falls into the hands of people who use it to check up on your personal habits, your family life, employment status, credit and debt profiles, and they can use the information for character assignation and other things.

Much of the fault lies in the fact that social media users often put information on their sites that shouldn't be there. They put names and pictures of their children, their addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, work place information and their incomes.

Bragging over the internet about your personal life, income, employment status, vacation plans, the status of your love life, where you live, what you buy for your home, and other things that you should keep to yourself puts you at risk for assault, robbery, home burglary, divorce, and lawsuits.

Employers and potential employers can legally check your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other accounts to see the information that you are posting. Such information may make the difference between getting a job, getting promoted, or getting fired. Some people are flippant about the information they put on their accounts and they seem to want the attention it brings to them. If they drink, do drugs, solicit prostitutes, or rob banks, it doesn't bother them about putting it online.

Although social media sites may claim to use privacy controls, you should never put information online that is personal and potentially damaging to you. You are responsible for the information that you put on your accounts and once it is out there and the data is shared, you can't control it. You don't know who is reading it, where it may end up, or how it may be used.

You should understand that the information you put out there now may come back to haunt you later and invade your privacy.

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