Privacy – Intro to Theme Week

Image taken from http://www.bhconsulting.ie/privacy.htm

This week BreakThru Radio launches its new Web site and with it comes a new style to the editorial content that is featured on our pages daily. Theme weeks are the new modus operandi of BTR.

We are starting off the launch of our new site with a look into privacy issues that stem from use of the Internet. A hot topic in both the blogosphere and with mainstream media since scandalous lawsuits against Facebook and notarized slip-ups at Google, individual privacy rights while using a computer continues to be a murky sea to swim in. The driving question behind our work here at BreakThru Radio this week is: “Are you aware of what the Internet has on you, and what they are doing with that information?”

What’s difficult to wrap one’s head around is trying to figure out just who the Internet is. Labeling it as such gives off the idea that it has its own individualized identity when in fact that is not the case at all. Made up of an extremely complex and intricately woven web (it’s not called the “world wide web” for nothing) of marketing tools, software programs, advertising agencies, and incorporated networking companies, our lifeline to information has become more of a manipulative psychologist incognito than a universal library. The only thing left to do is either come to terms with the fact that the more you use it the more it will know about you, or go vintage and revert back to using obsolete items like a phonebook, encyclopedia set, television, magazines, and god-forbid, face-to-face conversations with your friends.

Tomorrow, Huffington Post videographer and BreakThru featured writer Hunter Stuart takes in in-depth look at the debacle at Facebook this past summer over their new and improved(?) privacy statement. “Did you read the new privacy policy this past May?” Stuart asks his readers. “If you didn’t, you’re not alone. And even if you did, you probably wondered about all the stuff you posted and uploaded before the new privacy policy took effect, and before the Terms of Service were changed.”

On Wednesday, I will be looking at the information Google has on its users, how long they store this information and what they use it for, and what you can do to limit ‘the oracle’ from knowing everything about you. Google and Facebook are enemy number one and two, not necessarily in that order, for privacy advocates. Is it just because they are the easiest targets? Or is it because they happen to be the most ambitious in learning everything it is you do while on your Mac or PC?

Thursday, BTR writer Amanda Decker will examine the details of Congressman (D-IL) Bobby Rush’s proposed bill The Best Practices Act. It is a bill trying to pass the house that is greatening the divide between those who feel the Internet should continue to act as free flow of information, regardless of what that information is (i.e. your personal information) or at what costs, and those who are trying to limit industry access to valuable marketing data. An excerpt from Amanda’s piece: “The Interactive Advertising Bureau whose board members include representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, Comcast, Amazon.com, Fox Interactive, and CBS Interactive had this to say about it: ‘[It] would turn the Internet from a fast-moving information highway to a slow-moving toll-road.’ The other end of the spectrum consists of the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and Consumer Action. CDT President Leslie Harris called it an “essential” building block ‘for a modern and flexible consumer privacy law.'”

And, on Friday, Yale undergraduate Calah Singleton contemplates what it is that caused Chatroulette to go from an attempt at a new way for social networking into a forum of shared perversion. “The question really, is what makes Chatroulette different from the other forms of social media that have existed for years? There has been Internet sex as long as there has been Internet. But something about Chatroulette makes the Internet more scandalous; something that is talked about on comedy shows and parodied everywhere, while at the same time drawing a sense of revulsion.”

Make sure to log in to BTR each day for fresh videos from the video team, op-ed articles from the writing staff, and of course, brand new, break-through music from all of our DJs. Get to know what the Internet has on you, and how you can make some simple modifications to limit the amount of information that is being bought and sold about who you are and what your online habits look like.

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