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Network Societies and the Implications for their Privacies - Essay Example

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Network societies and the implications for their privacies Introduction In the last decade the use of various social networking sites or SNSs, have risen significantly. The SNSs are mainly used for socialising, where the users make new friends and reconnect with their old ones…
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Network Societies and the Implications for their Privacies
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Download file to see previous pages The popularity of the SNSs is quite evident when we find in a 2009 report, which stated that globally almost 38% internet users are a member of one or many of the SNSs, and maintain regular profiles in the social networking sites (Wray, Social Networking Booming with Doubling of Online Profiles, 2009). Facebook, at present is the most popular SNS, with a rise of nearly 86.1% in user percentage (ibid). One major characteristic of these SNSs is that the users can upload their personal data on these sites on a daily basis. As per the recent study made by OfCom in 2010, “Social networking accounts for nearly a quarter of all time spent on the internet (23 per cent compared to 9 per cent in 2007).  This has been driven by the rapid growth of Facebook, which grew by 31 per cent. The average Facebook user spent 6 and 30 minutes on the site during May 2010,” (OfCom, Consumers spend almost half of their waking hours using media and communications, 2010. The 2008 OfCom report noted that an adult user, on an average, maintained his/her profile on around 1.6 SNSs, while enter their profiles at least once, every two days (OfCom, Social networking: a quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours & use, 2008). This expeditious rise in the usage of social networking sites in the past decade, has created new problems, where there are increased instances of user personal data being misused through identity theft and cyber stalking, for various commercial activities related to unauthorised searching for employees, or fishing for prospective clients (Brown, Edwards, and Marsden, Staking 2.0: privacy protection in a leading social networking site, nd). The internet and SNSs being open to all, the uploaded user information (even personal information) becomes accessible to a much wider user spectrum, besides the intended user group. Often user inexperience and a general unawareness coupled with inappropriate SNS website designing, unintentionally help in the misuse of private information by various commercial organisations. These misuses and the future potentiality of fraudulent activities using the obtained personal information have raised questions and concerns over the issue of creating a stronger security system that would assure SNS user privacy, and the inaccessibility of the uploaded information outside the targeted viewer group. As for example, a member of the medical SNS PatientsLikeMe, may opt to discuss his/her condition only with a specific group of people (like those sharing similar medical problems), thus making it imperative that the site gives the user his/her right to privacy. In this context, we will discuss network societies and the implications for their privacies, focussing on Facebook, as it is the leading SNS now. Discussion What is a SNS? Boyd and Ellison, defined SNSs as services provided that are internet-based and allow its users to: Create user profiles which can be kept partially public or completely public, within the provide domain of the site; Create a ‘friends’ list and a group where they can upload and share private information; Have an access to the friends’ profiles, and to these friends’ ‘friend list,’ where the user can view all the connections made by their friends and often by ‘other users’ (who are not direct friends, but may have common friends or common interests) within the domain of the same SNS (Boyd, and Ellison, 2007, 210-211). The ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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