Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide users with a place to share personal information with friends family and the public — an activity that's proven to be hugely compelling to Internet users. In response to the demand technology is evolving to encourage the disclosure of information that was formerly discreet (like location) and to enable the sharing of information even when not sitting in front of a traditional computer (like from mobile phones).
But it doesn't take much forethought to realize that there are countless privacy pitfalls in a world where a near-endless stream of personal bits is indiscriminately posted indefinitely stored and quietly collected and analyzed by marketers, identity thieves, and professional government snoops in America and abroad. The public controversies that have erupted to date — Facebook's drastic terms of service changes and Google Buzz's forced sharing of email contacts — are only the first snares in a rapidly growing thicket of social networking privacy issues.
Here are some of the ways EFF is working to protect your privacy as the use of social networks grows:
- EFF has gone toe-to-toe with the government to uncover hidden details about how they use social networking sites for investigations data collection and surveillance.
- EFF works to expose issues with social networks as soon as they emerge from the leaking of information to advertisers or the policies of the sites themselves.
- EFF helps savvy users better understand how to strengthen their privacy online and opt out of information sharing.
EFF Related Content: Social Networks
- Among the worst culprits are companies that make consumers jump through countless hoops before finally relenting and agreeing to delete their accounts and data. This is a “wrongheaded approach” that companies think will lock in users and keep them from leaving their services, said Rainey Reitman, activism director at the...
- Staff attorney Nate Cardozo of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that despite the trend toward better privacy standards in the wake of revelations about domestic spying, tech companies liked to keep things unclear, even at companies that pride themselves on free speech and privacy. “It would be very difficult for...
- As technology advances, what people do with public data is shifting. “In years past, people thought they had some privacy through obscurity,” said Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That is changing.” So could what Banjo and other companies are doing turn people away from sharing?...
- Public documents revealed by Dave Maass, an investigative researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, showed the inmates would each spend, on average, 1,000 days in solitary confinement for the viral video stunt.
- On social media, Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is raising money to support Coyer’s group. Within a couple hours after her first post, hundreds of dollars had poured in. “People are amazing,” she says.