Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Online Privacy - EU Law

The internet has given risen to a wealth of opportunity and ability of users to find anything, buy anything and do anything they like. People can connect to other like minded individuals and they can express their own views easily to the world. This may seem like the ultimate freedom but with any freedom comes responsibility. To ensure everything you put onto the internet is the kind of information you want to be associated with your life is important, your views may change but if you have expressed opinions online it may still exist for people to see.

Job prospects

Recruiters are well aware of facebook and other social media, in fact most companies have a privacy agreement in their terms of employment (you know that document you signed when you took the job). To ensure they have recourse when an employee tarnishes their companies name. With the rapid increase in employee misbehaviour online it has been deemed more neccessary to establish background checks that incorporate an internet search to ensure the person is fit for purpose. This may throw up all kinds of antics from a persons past and reveal a lot about their personality. For instance an employee may come across as tempremental or opinionated which could be off putting from an employes perspective.



There have been some high profile cases of employees being sacked, as well as some rather comedic ones. Using a two year old picture as an excuse to claim you are snowed in, claiming to be ill then revealing on social media you are hungover and slating your boss are all ways in which people are caught out. So ensure that firstly you know who you are speaking to when posting on social media, your profile may not be as hidden as you think.

Nudity

There is a huge amount of nudity on the internet, from the porn sites to the car enthusiast forums there is naked pictures everywhere. People have really taken to 'Sexting' the practice of sending rude pictures to people using smartphones. Partly this is due to the ease of use of digital cameras now with most phones having a great resolution camera built in. It is also something attractive to younger people, often they regret this decision later in life as that person is no longer their partner or friend. Sending naked pictures is no neccessarily something you should be sacked for, in fact often managers will not ever see these pictures unless they themselves are using adult websites, which simply creates that awkward scenario of them knowing but unable to say without giving away their own sordid internet history.



But if you do partake in internet nudity, whether it be a picture on a RATE ME website or some other forum or a video you did at college for some beer money you should always know it is permanent and should never be done in a uniform. Companies do not want their brand tarnished by porn. Another example would be considering your chosen career, if you are working in the public arena, with children or other vulnerable people having a sordid past can be grounds for dismissal and will certainly be something that parents or interested parties will frown upon. It is easy to have images removed from most larger websites by simply putting in a copyright request which states the model has not given permission, this is something you should definitely consider doing.

Relationships

People who meet in bars or in social settings used to have this process called dating that took a few weeks to learn all about their personality, likes and dislikes. Now you can download the information to a handy summary using social media. This is the first port of call for most prospective daters so making sure you remove all the pictures of ex's from your profile can turn into a full time job, and all those ones you didn't put up but have to untag yourself from. The dating landscape may seem like great fun but it is decidely more complicated now than in previous generations.



Attracting the right people is about ensuring you portray your personality well, often difficult in short hand status updates or tweets. Angry ex's and spurned lovers may also see what your up to and attempt to sabotage so being honest is something you may need to consider.

Sudden Fame

The argument for not doing everything to hide your history is because lets face it who cares your just a normal person yea? Well that may be true at the moment but there is a myriad of ways the press may take an interest in your life. For instance winning the lottery is a sure fire way of someone finding out who you are and doing an internet search using any found images (usually the worst) to print your great news. Even if you do not go public the chances of keeping it secret are slim as a neighbour or friend is surely to reveal your identity. You may become embroiled in a political or social story, victim of crime, inventor or even just internet sensation. All these are ways in which someone out there may start to dig up your past and publish what they find. The sudden fame aspect is also unfortunately a sure fire way to have individuals from your past come out and either speak about you or blackmail you. Be careful who you trust and do not ever fall victim to blackmail, the law will protect you.


If your wondering who the bloke with all that gold is try a Google search on Michael Carroll, you will be astonished at the stories they have on this lotto winner.

EU Law

So the EU have come up with a nice law that allows you to ask a company to delete all your history relating to yourself from their servers. They oblige of course but what may be more of a worry is where that information went, other websites that have copied the text or images or even individuals who have kept a record. In the case of Paris Brown the Kent Youth PCC, who was in her £17,000 per year role for a total of a week before the media managed to create such a fuss about her past rants that she resigned, is now facing investigation for alleged racism and homophobia. This shows you that the world waits for no one, is a week long enough to get everything in order or should you start now?

In essence you can never keep all your opinions sensible but you must ensure that anything you share is not going to damage your reputation. It may also be good to check the privacy settings of any social media, picture content is something that should always be set to private. So spend some time searching for yourself and clean up any profiles or old commentary that you no longer want associated with yourself. It may also be a good idea to set up new email accounts and completely remove any reference to old ones.