What are some issues surrounding online privacy and use of personal information?

January 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Libraries, Online Communication, Privacy) (, , , , , )

Task

Based on your interests and/or workplace context, read two of the above readings to form your understanding of one or more of the following areas of policy concern and reflect on your new learning about these issues in a 350 word post.

  1. Intellectual property, copyright and emergence of the Creative Commons
  2. Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs
  3. Information access for all, adequate bandwidth/wireless/mobile connectivity and the ‘digital divide’
  4. Regulating the Internet in libraries, organisations and in the home
  5. Information and digital literacies, and recent emergence of transliteracy
  6. Acceptable use/online behaviour/social networking policies

Readings:

Hodson, S.S. (2006). Archives on the Web: Unlocking collections while safeguarding privacy, First Monday, 11 (8), August. Avaliable http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_8/hodson/index.html

James, M.L. Cyber crime 2.0 versus the Twittering classes. Parliament of Australia, Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary Library Information, analysis and advice for the Parliament. Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Section, 24 February 2010 (2009-10). Retrieved from http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/bn/sci/Cybercrime.pdf

Area of policy concern highlighted in readings:

Privacy, disclosure of personal information and online safety using SNSs

Response:

James (2010) highlights the broader national issues online users collectively face in protecting themselves against a range of wide spread issues. The downloading of sophisticated malicious software onto their computers or other devices, using out-dated security systems which have only received developer patches and minor updates and the overall increasing use of social based online technologies are all largely unseen factors by the individual user within the expanding cyber based crime industry. James goes further to discuss the use of popular social networks such as Twitter, and the contribution of personal information for display through the Twitter website and ‘tweets’ (posts to twitter) is adding to the growth of pre-existing criminal activities such as identity theft, home invasions and robbery.

Hodson delves more into the control of online information of a personal, private, sensitive or proprietary nature which has been archived and how this information can be made available for use by others online. She discusses the established and accepted meaning of privacy and what is being done to uphold that meaning within the global virtual environment. Hobson also highlights the ability for large corporations – which manage huge amounts of personal information about their clients – to ‘make mistakes’ by allowing access to this information to others. This opens all named clients to the potential of online identity theft and fraud.

So what do these two discussions mean for the information professional? Both James and Hobson highlight issues that are relevant for all online users regardless of the location of their online connection point (the user’s physical point of access to the internet). So these issues can – and most likely do – affect library users and library owned computer equipment which connects to the internet. Awareness of the overarching issues, as discussed by James, should be acknowledged and understood by library staff. However, the issues surrounding personal privacy and the use of personal information online as discussed by Hobson are, most likely, of higher immediate importance and relevance to library staff for serving and advising their online user community and the ensuring safety within the online activities they undertake. Another factor in the awareness of these issues is the ability to quickly identify, acknowledge and resolve any potential threats from malicious software or online criminals to the library’s users, computer network and technology by library staff and to have effective and clearly understood internet and social media policies in place which outline the actions to be taken by staff members.

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1 Comment

  1. Assignment Three: Evaluative and Reflective Statements « The Information Socialite said,

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