In today’s media oriented world, maintaining one’s privacy is becoming less and less feasible. Whether realized or not, much of our personal information is being stored on digitalized databases. Some of this information may be seemingly protected, but some may be easily accessible online. There are three specific sets of threats to our privacy with regard to media: commercial threats, malicious threats, and theft threats (Potter, 2014). In order to protect our private information, we must understand these threats. Further, we must take a few essential steps to maintain privacy.
James Potter cites that the first step to protecting your privacy is to “take an inventory about what information is publicly available on you” (355). In other words, search your name, amongst other information, and see what is freely available online about yourself. This will allow you to view your information as someone else would. Next, you must assess what you see. Does the information available threaten your privacy? Have your posts been copied, altered, or shared with other sites? If you come across information that you do not want to be publicly accessible, do not hesitate to take action. Contact the website or the individual directly through email or over the phone. If your request to take down the entirety of the post/information is not granted, removal of your name may be a valid alternative. You may also make contact if you find information inaccuracies regarding your personal pages and information.
A key step to protecting your privacy is to continually monitor threats. All too often on social media we leave our accounts public, or accepts requests from individuals whom we do not know personally. These can be possible threats to your privacy. Remain skeptical. You can never be too safe when it comes to online privacy. It is a good idea to download privacy software. This software will create a firewall to protect your computer and information from any potential threats. This is advantageous because it will do much of the monitoring for you.
As I mentioned, you can never be too cautious when dealing with personal information online. By taking these steps to protect your privacy, you are ensuring a safer online environment for yourself.
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