Online Identiy


How many times have you have a skipped a article titled “Online Privacy and Security”?And this just might be another one. But the issue is indeed very serious.

Andy Warhol’s once remarked in 1968, “In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes”. What he mean’t that media could enable any person to become famous. That is indeed what our current scenario is. Google your name, and you may be just on the first page of search results. In fact, a more recent adaption of Wharol’s statement arising with development of social networking web sites, blogging and other online services could be “One the web, everyone would be famous to 15 minutes”. Do some math to your Facebook account, it might just be accurate!

Actually having an online identity is not just a craze, but also a necessity today. Now when I speak about Online identity that includes not only social networking websites but blogging, owning personal websites or may be uploading your pictures on flickr. But why do I call it a necessity? The simple reason that backs my point is that these online services have been great tool to connect people round the globe. The simple example is the success of the forums and blogging websites. People love to share their opinions and expertise to help people wherever they may be in the world. This is one side of the story, let’s call it the good part of the story.

Everybody wishes to be famous. Everybody wishes to make his importance felt. These to points form the backbone of various online services that have grown up virally. And yes, these are also the reasons why people want to have an online identity. A place where they can share their feelings, experiences and tell the world about themselves. But what’s at stake is your privacy.

You’ve heard that before. If you see the word “Privacy Policy” on a website, you feel it’s secure? It’s not. In fact a lot of Privacy Policy are simply copied from the standard formats online. But let’s keep it simple. Here are a few ways how your personal information can be used online?

1. Ad’s

The favorite social networking website, Facebook. (I am not an anti-social networking person, and promise this is the last social networking website example). Check the ad’s around, that help it keep running. You might just see your profile picture in a matrimony ad or some application may be using your picture for it’s promotion! They are using your information or picture because you’ve allowed them to.

Of course that’s avoidable. The “Privacy Settings” tab needs your attention. The default privacy settings are only set to medium levels.

2. Marketing Calls

Ever wondered, how every company seems to have a record of your mobile numbers to disturb you just at the right time. It’s simple. Give your mobile number while booking an online ticket from a 3rd party website. Or simply exchange it for a pirated download.

The solution. Avoid sharing your any contact information with websites unless it’s really important. For a little ease of access, we have a habit of setting things to “Auto Fill” Mode. Avoid that. As many can track these numbers, even without your permissions.

Sending Particularly Annoying Messages. It’s the automated robots that have got a plenty of time to send you “particularly annoying message”. Even the most sophisticated e-mail clients have not been 100 per cent successful in segregating SPAM. Your important mail might just land up in your SPAM folder or some SPAM might just pop up in your Inbox. But here’s what you can do. Stop mentioning e-mail address in feedback forms, sign up for too many newsletters and make sure you un-check boxes that say “Allow partner firms to send e-mail updates”.

The bottom line of all this stuff is that when you have an online presence, you are easily traceable.

The next time you are looking to upload your pictures or post any information online, I recommend you to ensure that the information is used properly.


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