Big Data, Data security, privacy and ethical issues of collecting data online.

Your digital persona tells people a great deal about who you are. Just by visiting someone’s Facebook profile you can probably find out their name, where they live, where they are from, where they work, relationship status, sexual orientation, favorite movies, books and music, etc. Now, depending on your privacy settings, this is open for anyone in the world to see – and potential employers are probably actively seeking out this information. I know that in the past potential employers have searched for my Facebook profile. I have nothing to hide on my account, but I still keep my page private for the most part. I want to keep my personal and work life separate. I have never been asked to show my Facebook page to a potential employer in an interview or provide them with my account passwords. Honestly, I would be uncomfortable if I was asked for my password. While this has not happened to me, it is happening to others. According to Facebook’s policy, they prohibit people from sharing their password. But, it is questionable on whether this is illegal and breaks federal law. The articles “Can Employers Legally Ask You for Your Facebook Password When You Apply for a Job?” discusses this issue. Not only, is the legality of this debatable, but it can also lead to illegal discriminatory acts based on the information your profile displays. Mashable published the article “What to Do When A Potential Employer Asks for Your Facebook Password” to help people learn how to handle this situation.

But, this isn’t all about the legal issues of employers asking for your social media password. That is a whole controversy that could be heavily debated on its own. We are all publishing information about ourselves, big data, online. How much does the majority of people know about data security, privacy and ethical issues behind this. It wasn’t until I read I read “Instagram can now sell your photos for ads” on CNN Money that I knew about Instagram’s policy about selling your photos. I was shocked to read this because this is a person’s work of art, their masterpiece. It’s their property. They should own the rights to it. I took a class on mass media law and we discussed intellectual property in great detail among many other things, and to me it seems like that should be illegal for Instagram to do. People accessing big data and a person’s privacy is full of controversy. A digital heart monitor is another topic that questions who owns the rights to a patients digital footprint and who should control that information. You have to jump through hoops to access health files because of the strict laws the US has in place. But implants and new technologies like the one discussed in “Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits” are putting these laws to the test.

Clearly, there are ethical issues behind the privacy of big data, what are your thoughts on the matter?

Have you ever been asked to provide an employer with your Facebook password, or any password?

Were you aware of Instagram’s policy? What are your thoughts on it?


2 thoughts on “Big Data, Data security, privacy and ethical issues of collecting data online.

  1. I have not ever been asked to provide an employer with my Facebook password or to let them view it. I would at a local business in Gainesville and I am an administrator on our Facebook page and was not even asked before being approved for that. I understand them looking at my profile or wanting to be added as my friend so they can see my activity, but honestly, if I worked at a big company I would not be friends on social media with any of my clients from my personal accounts.
    I think that when it comes to big data there should be regulations on what information is truly allowed to be private and what information the government and companies can have access to use. I think that big data does offer a lot of insight on products and consumers, which can be useful, but it should not come at the expense of the users privacy.
    I was aware of Instagram’s policy prior to this week. I think that if they use a person’s photo they should have to inform them. I also feel that if the photo is something that Instagram gets paid for the person who took the photo or posted it should receive part of the earnings. I think that Instagram could do a better job at making their users aware of their policy for the photos that are shared through their site.

  2. I’ve never been asked for my Facebook password, and I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was. My Facebook account is pretty bland at best, mostly pictures of my kids and keeping up with my friends, but I would still feel it was a bit of a privacy violation. I would expect to be judged for how I’m viewed publicly — the things that anyone can see — and not the things that are more behind closed doors.

    I wasn’t aware of Instagram’s policy, but I’m not surprised by it. The truth is people have a mentality that things like Facebook and Instagram were created for the benefit of people in general. In truth, they are a business and they need to make money and will do so in whatever way they want. If you don’t like it, then you need to either stay away from Instagram or invest in your own company to distribute pictures, for free to your friends. But then after pulling that off, you’d probably want to cash in on that as well….

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