Identity, Privacy, Security and Trust

Your online self is effectively ubiquitous (Pearson, 2009). For both the individual and organisation the message is clear, be informed. Forty two percent of surveyed respondents always or often use the same password when registering at a website (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, and Jenkins, 2007). Falls (2010)advises separating your social networking logins, passwords and perhaps even emails from your financial information credentials.

The online presence of organisations, including schools has increased dramatically. Facebook and Twitter accounts are a must. However, with an online identity comes responsibilities. Claire Robinson (as cited in Harris, 2010) advises schools ‘to have a very clear and robust acceptable use policy which is a living breathing document’. Vague policies are unacceptable. It is the process of its creation and evolution that is most powerful. All stakeholders must be consulted as it is imperative that they understand and implement it. Harris (2010) advocates the creation of an organisation Facebook account, so students/clients can become fans, to avoid teachers friending students and falling prey to inappropriate communication. A poll conducted by Sarah Elliot on January 24, 2012 on INF506 Facebook Group page shows agreement, with 21 out of 24 participants voting against teachers friending students.

Individuals and organisations need to keep up-to-date with privacy policies. Google says its new privacy policy will facilitate ‘a simpler, more intuitive experience’ but in essence it’s integrating data across its platforms to learn more about you (Tsukayama, 2012). One needs to read the privacy policy of a website and critically evaluate it before engaging in its use. There is a high social cost to non participation in social networking. According to AASL standards of the 21st century learner, libraries and librarians need to be active members of social networks. Privacy trade-offs need to be made. However one must know the cost of an informational transaction (Pearson). As privacy pragmatists (Raynes-Goldie) one must make responsible decisions and following AUPs. ‘Be aware of what you’re doing online. Don’t click on links or images from people you don’t know, not just in your email, but also in messages on your social networks like Facebook and Twitter’ (Falls, 2010).

One needs to set high privacies and security settings in social media sites.It is important to explore what privacy means among different user groups (Raynes-Goldie,2010). Anonymity and privacy are often confused, the former is not a core attribute of the web (Pearson, 2009). Never write anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother (Pearson, 2009) or mother (Schriro, 2011) to read is a good rule of thumb. Nothing online is truly private.
De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Section 3: Privacy, Security and Trust. In Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. [ebook] Available
Falls, J. (2010, May 7). What you need to know about privacy, security and safety on the social web [Blog post]. Retrieved from:
Harris, C. (2010). Friend me?: School policy may address friending students online, School Library Journal, 1 April. Available
Pearson, J. (2009). Life as a dog: Personal identity and the internet. Meanjin, 68(2), 67-77. Retrieved from:;dn=200906244;res=APAFT
Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning:Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook, First Monday, 15(1), 4 January. Available
Schriro. (2011, April 3).Your mother is watching; develop your social media accordingly [Blog Post]. Tehillim and the Nogah. Retrieved from:
Tsukayama, H. (2012, January 25). FAQ: Google’s new privacy policy. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 30, 2012 from:

This entry was posted in INF 506 Social Networking for Information Professionals and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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