Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Information Management. Privacy.

While social media and internet in general have made it easier to store, sort, present and share information, they have also imposed some costs on us, the users -namely, privacy and surrendering information to thrid parties and to provide the government to even more information about us.

Privacy has, in some way or another, been a tangent topic in our class. Talking to a couple of classmates, we acknowledge the inherent difficulties of the web 2.0 success -that is, how to separate your real self from your online persona? Is that even possible or desirable? Internet is a two-way street: we can peek inside the government but the government can also take a look into our lives.

Over the past month, I read a couple of articles about the topic that I would like to share with you. It was recently revealed that Google exploits a glitch in Safari to track iPhone users and that all of the larger software companies are doing the same.

Europe has been reluctant to jump into the e-gov and gov2.0 bandwagons and has pushed for protection of the user privacy (such as the ban Germany at frist had on Google Street View or the right to be forgotten online). The US, partly because its more individual and liberal tradition and partly because of economic interests (think SOPA), has refrained from doing so. The US government is spending on fulfulling the Open Gov Memo tasks, thus pushig US citizens into social media whitout giving them much control over the information they post online.

This, however, not only happens online. An article on NYT showed that Target can predict when you are pregnant based on your shopping habits, so this breach in trust and privacy intrusion is not confined to the web.

Anonymous DoS hacks of the past couple of months have shown that there are security gaps on government websites (as they are on thrid party websites). For government2.0 and in general web-collaboration, information assurance and privacy policies need to be tightened not only with the information shared with other companies, but with the information share on goverment websites and applications.

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