Facebook privacy growing slimmer


If you were to see me walking across campus, or anywhere else for that matter, you would see me walking with my head down, cell phone in hand, checking my email, texts and Facebook account.  I see people all over the place doing the same thing. It is extremely convenient, this ability to talk, send short messages and photographs all literally within the palms of our hands.

We truly are living in the future with all of this technology around us. It makes me feel like a 30th Century Man.

I remember when it was good to have a smaller cell phone, so it was easier to carry around.  That trend quickly morphed back into the larger, flatter, brick-style phones and the people rejoiced for these “smart phones”. ‘We can multi-task now. No longer are we chained to our desks and beehive cubicles.’ And it was good. But the workweek seemed to change and grow from the standard 40-hour week into 60- to 80-hour weeks with this ability to always be available. There is no one, at any one time, that cannot be reached if they own a smart phone.

Vacations are still vacations, with the occasional email. Birthdays are still birthdays, with a Facebook status update. Divorces are still divorces, with the enhancement of text messaging.  But if things really got out of hand back at the office, your boss can still reach you and odds are, you will probably pick up. That is the nature of these smart phones, to keep you plugged in to the world around us, both virtually and actually. It is very progressive and efficient. It is also extremely Orwellian.

Facebook, the number one social network in the world, is now under fire for monitoring its users web browsing activities while users are logged off Facebook. My first question is, “How is this possible?” My second question is, “Where is this information going and what are the recipients doing with it?”

To begin, every time you call a webpage from its server on the Internet it stores a “cookie,” or digital signature, on your hard drive. This cookie from Facebook has the ability to track and store what websites the user visits and then uploads it to the Facebook server when the user logs back into the site at a later date.

The explanation for this extreme invasion of privacy was that of “a mistake,” even though the information mined from this is worth billions of dollars.

To whom, you may ask? Well advertisers for one. Marketing on the Internet is an extremely lucrative industry, literally billions of dollars. This information, the sites we visit, the frequency we visit them and how long we stay on them, becomes part of a