Category Archives: Online Privacy

Online Marketing Blog: Facebook’s Facial Recognition Software Breeches Privacy

You just got caught uncompromising picture on Facebook. Although you’re a bit irritated, you think to yourself, “It’s not a big deal.” After all, all you have to do is use the magical button called untag. Sure, the picture is still out there but, unless someone deliberately goes searching for it, it’s not connected to you.

Unfortunately, people are finding out the hard way that Facebook’s new gadget may surface embarrassing photos unintentionally. The program, called facial recognition technology, is supposed to help users tag their friends in photos. What it does is it constantly analyzes your friends’ Facebook albums and determines if any of the pictures look like you.

This is pretty impressive when you think about it… and also pretty creepy. While your friends will still be the ones doing the tagging, Facebook is pointing, specifically, you out. The problem with this is that some people are saying this makes Facebook the one sharing personal information by default.

Naturally, not everyone is ecstatic— especially the people who still don’t know how to manage their Facebook privacy settings properly. And, it certainly doesn’t help that Facebook didn’t extend any prior notice about the matter.

My suggestion? If you are feeling a bit weary about the consequences of this new program, it might be a good idea to disable it. Disabling on Facebook is rather easy, once you know what you are looking for. For this particular program all you have to do is follow these steps:

1. Go to your Facebook’s privacy settings.
2. Click on “Customize settings.”
3. Look for “Things to Share.” Under which, you will see “Suggest photos of me to friends. When photos look like me, suggest my name.”
4. Click on “Edit settings.”
5. Changed the “Enabled” to “Disable” and press “OK”

And, volia! You have successfully blocked it. Just keep in mind that technology is always changing, and it might be a good idea to check out your Facebook privacy settings more then every once and awhile.

You know, just for old pictures’ sake.

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Google Trouble Not Surprising

I'm not surprised. The more we share online, the more we open ourselves to privacy invasion, inadvertently. So upon reading that Google has admitted to privacy violations, I wasn't much surprised. Yes, I realize that the violations occurred when Google street cards "inadvertently collected" unencrypted personal data, the key phrase being "inadvertently collected".

No one really knows how deep the violations go and how far spread out they are geographically but apparently countries like Spain, Germany, and France along with attorney generals from 30 states in the US have gotten involved in delving into this fiasco at Google.  Google has admitted to capturing passwords, emails and even banking information in some cases. Google has offered to delete the data but needs permission to do so once the investigation is complete.

Google indicated that it planned to delete the captured data as soon as possible, but would wait until regulators gave permission for the deletions – most likely, after investigations are completed and closed.

Yes, of course the company was mortified and yes, of course Google will face international probes into their privacy practices. Google also stated its plan to implement better privacy and security procedures, blah, blah, blah.

Bottom-line, these privacy violations are going to become more and more frequent. No one will be protected as we get more and more deeper into this social media & technology quicksand. Protect yourself and your information with every tool you can get. Separate your online usage for professional reasons from your "private" usage to lessen the risk of privacy violation.

This is the digital age and with it comes privacy problems unlike what we've seen before.

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Facebook Ban in German Firms – Smart or Short-Sighted?

So conspiracy theory nuts may tell you that social network sites are created with the express purpose of the Government spying on us, individuals. And to sort of validate their fears, we hear about privacy violations and an increase in cyber crime, mostly by non-government entities but according to conspiracy theorists, who knows!
But a new report shows that top German companies are blocking access to Facebook & other social networking websites over security concerns and the fear of corporate espionage.

According to the report, German companies fear viruses through links from these social networks and the fear that their employees may inadvertently leak trade secrets online in various forums, chats, and social networks.

Companies like Porsche and a German back are just two examples of companies that have restricted the use of Facebook and Youtube over espionage fears. Productivity or lack there of is another reason for the ban but that's to be expected anytime employees are given the chance to go to the Internet.

As I mention in a previous blog, these are all very valid concerns but I believe that there is a way to protect the company against these fears through some very clear social networking policies, centralized social media implementation, implementing robust monitoring tools, and providing ongoing awareness & usage training to employees. And the same processes we use to protect against corporate espionage while using email need to be employed here.

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Top Five Security Concerns Online Social Networking Sites and More

Continuing with the theme of online privacy concerns and fears of corporate espionage from the past few days, here are the top five security concerns that each of us should be worried about:

Malware: Ugh this is one of the worst! Malware simply refers to software that is designed to secretly access your computer and steal your information. Browsers are the main way for malware to infect your computer. Malware can steal private information and cause serious privacy breaches for you. Some known data-stealing malware include Qhost, LegMir, and Gator.

Insider attacks: A fired employee, a disgruntled employee, or the heavy reliance on outside contractors who have access to your computers is a huge risk we all face. It is impossible to protect a company totally from insider attacks but there are ways to implement good security measures, implement frequent password changing policies, and ensure that only trusted employees get Carte Blanche to all your computers and their passwords.

Mobile devices: Mobile phones are susceptible to malware, worms, and privacy intrusions. Through the wifi networks they may access, the risk is even greater. Mobile devices may result in huge losses for you and your company if you are not aware and protected from these intrusions.

Social Networking websites: Yep, social networking websites such as Facebook & Twitter can create serious privacy violations for companies. Phishing is a way to steal ID's and is very, very common on social networking websites. "Baring all" in public is another threat resulting in increased cyber criminal activity and identity theft issues.

Corporate Espionage: Corporate espionage concerns are growing and leading to companies banning employees from using social networking websites. Corporate espionage is a real threat and is increasing, no doubt about that. It can result in companies becoming very vulnerable to hostile take-overs and losing market-share to the competition.

So although we propagate the usage of social networks, our intent is also to highlight the challenges faced from social networking websites. In fact, this may become the case for why social media marketing or social networking should be an outsourced activity. By using a third party, companies can actually protect private information because third parties like us would never be privy to private corporate information that could lead to corporate espionage. (Hmm….perhaps a good basis for a new white paper)