Online Security : Is Privacy in Danger of Becoming Extinct?

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“Is Privacy in Danger of Becoming Extinct because of Web 2.0?”

Guest Blog Post  by Olan Ahern 

Bio: Olan Ahern has a keen interest in Social Media and online issues; he works on behalf PTE Academic specialists in English tests.

Shared Information and The Development of Web 2.0

After the dotcom bubble burst in 2001, there was a universal fear amongst those in the online community that the web as we know it was coming to an abrupt end.

Many companies used the “get big fast” strategy during the peak of the dotcom era. A business model where an organisation would suffer a net loss to build market share, the idea was that building brand awareness early would enable an organisation to charge profitable rates for their services later on. However, after the bottom dropped out of the online market numerous companies suffered including notable bankruptcies from multibillion dollar organisations such as startups.com and inktomi.

However, while some feared the worst a new uprising was occurring across the web; a wave of new networks, websites and applications began to pop up signalling the beginning of web 2.0 and the start of the user empowerment era. Soon there was an emergence of budding tech savvy entrepreneurs creating networks that began to take over the web, from sharing your favourite music via Napster to blogging about your daily activities via blogger, sharing any or all information was now a possibility.

At the helm of this movement was a young Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg who redefined the term “user experience” from his dorm room. By setting up a website that allowed people to share and communicate information in a way never seen before, the name of the site was none other than Facebook.

Today, Zuckerberg continues to push the boundaries of shared information. In a recent interview he defined a new “horizontal strategy” where he wants to make everything social. His plan is one will be able to share information on the web, mobile and any other devices out there.

As Zuckerberg hasn’t seemed to have failed with any of his previous ventures, the question needs to be asked when enough information will be considered enough!

But more importantly, will anything be considered private in web 2.0?

The growth of social media and the development in two way communication systems have made information available at the click of a button. It has changed societies mind set and the way people approach tasks; to record a single people now think of YouTube not a record studio, or to find your dream job people now think LinkedIn not a recruitment agency. However, one must create a strong online presence to get a return of engagement, and the more information shared the stronger this presence grows. Hence the problem lies, and in turn social privacy is slowly becoming extinct.

The Reasons Why

Social Privacy “is slowly becoming extinct”

According to an FBI crime and security survey 71 per cent of American companies are endangering their financial stability by not having insurance that will cover internet liability.

At the beginning of the technological age business owners were encouraged to share and store information online as a “safety precaution”. It was supposed to take away risk of losing files, but instead it took away control of information as every computer system or personal account is now capable of being breached. The main factors contributing to this risk;

  • Error
  • Negligence
  • Cybercrime

These three factors cost organisations millions of dollars each year. A report from Business week/Symantec depicts countries most affected. Taking six contributing factors into account, share of malicious computer activity, malicious code rank, spam zombies rank, phishing web site hosts rank, bot rank and attack origin, to substantiate its cybercrime ranking.

Cyber Crime - Olan Ahern

Rogue employees are the other problem; they use information against their organisations by publicising or “sharing” that information on blogs and social networks, tools that allow one spread information to millions within a matter of hours.

A prime example of this is WikiLeaks – blog. Julian Assange founder of Wikki Leaks published classified information on the Afghanistan war and political corruption from anonymous news sources and whistle blowers.

While the Wikileaks scandal maybe an extreme example it highlights the ease at how information can be exposed. We all hear of cyber bullying via Twitter and Facebook, and information leaking out into the social sphere that can single headedly ruin a person’s life.

To understand why privacy is almost a fictitious word at this point it’s important to understand the makeup of web 2.0. How information is exchanged, released and private documents are breached regularly.

Understanding Web 2.0 – Words of Caution

The responsibility lays with the three main components of web 2.0 for both its success and problems when it comes to privacy;

• Rich Internet Application (RIA); application articulates the experience from the desktop to the browser, so for example a basic drag and drop function. Adobe Flash, JavaFX, and HTML5 are the three common platforms but W3C accessibility initiative WAI provides a bridge between web apps, browser and assistive technologies that looks to revolutionise RIA.

It defines new HTML attributes and values to describe content roles, states and properties. While not directly the cause of privacy breaches, it’s the platform for which all other services are based online.

 Service Orientated Architectures (SOA); is the primary structure that supports communications between structures. SOA revolves around functionality and its ability to provide quality applications and mashups to the web by leveraging and integrating information between two computing entities. Without realizing it one uses SOA regularly for example when purchasing online. This is extremely risky and has caused many security breaches; enterprise companies make changes regularly in their networks easier so they can deliver new services faster, this opens them to risk and viruses.

• The Social Web; encapsulates websites and software design and development in catering for social interaction on the web; social networking, cloud computing and virtualisation are constantly under threat, bringing new issues when it comes to personal privacy to the fore.

 Summary

Web 2.0 has created a world that enables information to be passed on, shared, swooped, breached, stolen, hacked and misplaced. Making privacy almost obsolete, one should think carefully when storing a file online or sharing personal information with a friend. In this fast paced world, technology is changing rapidly and the majority of people are unaware of the risks out there. This coupled with the fact ackers and social parasites prey on the uninformed make it a dangerous world to be a part of.

Bio: Olan Ahern has a keen interest in Social Media and online issues; he works on behalf PTE Academic specialists in English tests.

Guest Blogs

If you wish to be a Guest Blogger here contact me with a copy attached of the proposed Post, which must be relevant to the general theme of
Marketing4Optimization i.e. Internet Marketing Small Business and Social Media

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