The Issue of Privacy on Social Networks by@arthur.tkachenko

The Issue of Privacy on Social Networks

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A social network service (social network) creates and controls online networking platforms intended for communities of people who share certain interests and activities.

More specifically, many sites offer tools for interacting with other users and followers (based on personal profiles independently generated).

The advent and growing popularity of social networking services indicate a radical change in public accessibility, whatever the level, of personal data relating to a large portion of the population around the world.

In recent years, social networks have been met with incredible favor, especially among young people. However, it happens more and more often that services of this type are offered, for example, also to professionals or elderly people.

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The challenges arising from these services represent, on the one hand, another manifestation of the radical changes introduced by the advent of the Internet.

On the other hand, social networks seem to question the concept of individual space in its social meaning.

Personal data becomes publicly (and globally) accessible in ways and in quantities hitherto unknown; above all, this happens concerning an enormous quantity of digital images and videos.

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Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/20566/personal-data-breaches-notified-per-eea-jurisdiction/

As far as privacy is concerned, one of the fundamental challenges is probably represented by the fact that the majority of personal data published through services of this type are made public on the initiative of the users themselves and based on their consent.

The "traditional" rules on privacy concern the definition of rules that protect citizens from the unfair or disproportionate treatment of their personal data by public entities (including the police and secret services) and businesses.

There are very few rules governing the publication of personal data on the initiative of individuals - also because this has never been a major issue on the Internet before the advent of social networking services. Furthermore, the legislation on data protection and privacy has traditionally provided for favorable rules for the processing of personal data deriving from public sources. At the same time, we are facing a new generation of users.

This is the first generation that grew up with the Internet. These "digital natives" have developed quite peculiar approaches to the use of Internet services and to the concept of private or public.

Furthermore, being mostly teenagers, they are probably more willing to put their privacy at risk than "digital immigrants" a few years older. In general, it seems to be possible to affirm that those who are younger have fewer problems in making even intimate details of their lives public through the Internet.

Lawmakers, data protection authorities, and social networking service providers are faced with a situation that has not been matched in the past.

Social network services offer a whole series of new opportunities for communication and exchange of information of all kinds, in real-time, but the use of these services can also involve risks for privacy.

image

Risks to privacy and security

The rise of social networks is just beginning. Although we can already see some risks associated with the offer and use of these services, in all likelihood what we see is only the tip of the iceberg and in the coming years, new forms of use will continue to emerge and, therefore, new risks.

More specifically, public entities (including police and secret services) and private individuals will devise new ways of using the personal data contained in the user profiles.

We all disclose more personal information than you think. For example, photos can turn into universal biometric identifiers within a network and even across multiple networks.

The performance of face recognition software has significantly improved in recent years, and even "better" results will come in the future.

image

It should be noted that, once a name is associated with a photo, the privacy and security of other user profiles can also be jeopardized, perhaps based on the use of pseudonyms or even anonymous data - for example about profiles of possible partners, which usually contain a photo and personal information, but not the real name of the individual concerned.

Furthermore, ENISA (the European agency for network and information security) has drawn attention to emerging technology (CBIR, content-based image retrieval) that offers further opportunities to locate users by associating the identification elements of certain environments or places (for example, a painting hanging in a room, or a building visible in the image) to the location data contained in a database. Finally, the so-called "social graph" functions, very common in various social network services, can reveal information on the relationships between individual users.


This article was created in collaboration with David Cajilig from Privasim.

Privasim is helping educators teach data privacy to students easily through game-based learning.

Used Literature


A social network service (social network) creates and controls online networking platforms intended for communities of people who share certain interests and activities.

More specifically, many sites offer tools for interacting with other users and followers (based on personal profiles independently generated).

The advent and growing popularity of social networking services indicate a radical change in public accessibility, whatever the level, of personal data relating to a large portion of the population around the world.

In recent years, social networks have been met with incredible favor, especially among young people. However, it happens more and more often that services of this type are offered, for example, also to professionals or elderly people.

image

The challenges arising from these services represent, on the one hand, another manifestation of the radical changes introduced by the advent of the Internet.

On the other hand, social networks seem to question the concept of individual space in its social meaning.

Personal data becomes publicly (and globally) accessible in ways and in quantities hitherto unknown; above all, this happens concerning an enormous quantity of digital images and videos.

image

Source: https://www.statista.com/chart/20566/personal-data-breaches-notified-per-eea-jurisdiction/

As far as privacy is concerned, one of the fundamental challenges is probably represented by the fact that the majority of personal data published through services of this type are made public on the initiative of the users themselves and based on their consent.

The "traditional" rules on privacy concern the definition of rules that protect citizens from the unfair or disproportionate treatment of their personal data by public entities (including the police and secret services) and businesses.

There are very few rules governing the publication of personal data on the initiative of individuals - also because this has never been a major issue on the Internet before the advent of social networking services. Furthermore, the legislation on data protection and privacy has traditionally provided for favorable rules for the processing of personal data deriving from public sources. At the same time, we are facing a new generation of users.

This is the first generation that grew up with the Internet. These "digital natives" have developed quite peculiar approaches to the use of Internet services and to the concept of private or public.

Furthermore, being mostly teenagers, they are probably more willing to put their privacy at risk than "digital immigrants" a few years older. In general, it seems to be possible to affirm that those who are younger have fewer problems in making even intimate details of their lives public through the Internet.

Lawmakers, data protection authorities, and social networking service providers are faced with a situation that has not been matched in the past.

Social network services offer a whole series of new opportunities for communication and exchange of information of all kinds, in real-time, but the use of these services can also involve risks for privacy.

image

Risks to privacy and security

The rise of social networks is just beginning. Although we can already see some risks associated with the offer and use of these services, in all likelihood what we see is only the tip of the iceberg and in the coming years, new forms of use will continue to emerge and, therefore, new risks.

More specifically, public entities (including police and secret services) and private individuals will devise new ways of using the personal data contained in the user profiles.

We all disclose more personal information than you think. For example, photos can turn into universal biometric identifiers within a network and even across multiple networks.

The performance of face recognition software has significantly improved in recent years, and even "better" results will come in the future.

image

It should be noted that, once a name is associated with a photo, the privacy and security of other user profiles can also be jeopardized, perhaps based on the use of pseudonyms or even anonymous data - for example about profiles of possible partners, which usually contain a photo and personal information, but not the real name of the individual concerned.

Furthermore, ENISA (the European agency for network and information security) has drawn attention to emerging technology (CBIR, content-based image retrieval) that offers further opportunities to locate users by associating the identification elements of certain environments or places (for example, a painting hanging in a room, or a building visible in the image) to the location data contained in a database. Finally, the so-called "social graph" functions, very common in various social network services, can reveal information on the relationships between individual users.


This article was created in collaboration with David Cajilig from Privasim.

Privasim is helping educators teach data privacy to students easily through game-based learning.

Used Literature

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