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Online Privacy

With Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of Congress, it makes sense to go into some basic dos and don’ts when surfing the Internet.  Once connected to the Internet, a majority of the sites are primarily free.  Although, most of these websites are not there just to help you out, they are there to make money.  A blogger, if they get enough viewers to their site, can sell ads that help pay them to write.  Home Depot’s site is there to educate you on what they sell and get you to go to the store.  Facebook and Google are there operate to make money off advertisements.

Since Facebook is in the news, we will go deeper with that site.  They don’t sell your data, but they do sell access to your news feed.  For example, a company can purchase advertisement space for Boston residents between the ages 25-35.  Facebook will then place the advertisement in that groups’ feed.   I think most of us understand this and agree to this type of give and take.  We give them information and access to us, while they give us a social media platform.

Some websites allow you to use a Facebook login as an account on their site.  This way you don’t have to create a new account, you can just use your Facebook account to log into the site.  It may be very convenient, but it also gives this site access to your data. There is supposed to be limited access to what they can see, but this has been fairly unregulated up to this point.  Facebook is now looking to fix this.

This isn’t an article specifically on Facebook though.  Google and other organizations do this also.  Instead of using your Facebook or Google password everywhere, you should create a specific password for each site.  Try using a password manager like LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password.  That way you don’t have to remember your password and the password can be very complex. You want to try to limit how much information about you that each site has access to. If you do not think Uber needs to know who your friends are, do not use Facebook to sign into their application.  It makes it a little more difficult, but with a password manager, you probably won’t even notice the difference.

Facebook is constantly changing their privacy policy, as are most online organizations.  Make sure when you get a privacy notice, or if you install an application on your device, you pay attention to what it requests access to.  If you install a flashlight app, and it says it is going to access your WiFi, contacts, and messages, this should be a red flag.

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