Friday, September 6, 2013

Is Twitter Causing You to Infringe Upon Your Own Rights?

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy." However, the usage of modern social media may be causing people to unknowingly strip themselves of this right. Most social media users are able to find and adjust their account settings that deal with the distribution of location, but protecting your safety not always as easy as changing your profile to "private."

This article discusses, in particular, the privacy issues surrounding tweets, and more importantly, people who still manage to reveal their location even after they've requested to have those settings changed. I think the fault lies both in the user's carelessness, as well as in the site's lack of proper security. For instance, the default settings should not be for everything to be entirely public, but rather, the exact opposite. Before they can understand what they're doing, many Twitter users begin posting their exact, real-time location for anyone with an internet connection to see. The lack of proper communication increases the user's risk for privacy violations and the safety concerns associated with the questionable security.

It is the site's responsibility to lay out for the user, in terms that anyone can understand, their policy on privacy. Long-winded Terms of Service documents, while a necessity, are not effective for communicating important safety information to the users. So, the 14-year-old who is most definitely 18 years of age - and has read and understood the entire 100+ page Terms of Service agreement in under 10 seconds - is now held responsible for their inability to comprehend the consequences of their posts and their lack of knowledge about the site they're using. Sites like Twitter need to clearly explain what types of information are attached to tweets, who can see them with which settings, and make the understanding of these concepts mandatory. Additionally, it is the user's responsibility to make sure they are cognizant of how their postings might make them the potential target for cyber or real-world crimes and censor themselves accordingly.

As a result, it is the fault of both parties that social media site users are accidentally, but still somehow willingly, giving up their right to privacy.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting observation - I wonder if that should be publicized more - use tweets, Facebook and you give up privacy, no matter what. I think it would be wise for everyone to know what it means to create a twitter or FB account and how you are viewed, and who views you will remain largely a mystery to you. how to make this more apparent?