Who’s Peeping Through Your Browser Window?
CSUMB/ACLU forum focuses on privacy in the digital age.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Most of us have been there: After a bit of online shopping, we click over to Facebook or Gmail, only to find ads for the same sort of products we’ve just been checking out.
It’s no coincidence. Private companies can store and sell your Google searches, Facebook friend lists, online shopping histories and other personal data. That kind of information is not only marketable to advertisers; it can also be used against you by the government or employers.
On Sept. 29, the Monterey County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and CSU Monterey Bay will present a free community forum on the legal, political and practical aspects of online privacy and identity protection.
“People readily give up all their privacy rights without even knowing where their personal information is going,” notes attorney Michelle Welsh, a member of the local ACLU board.“Many young people today have no expectation of privacy.”
CSUMB Technology Development Officer Arlene Krebs says most people aren’t even aware their privacy is at risk. “Just like TV, the Internet is free and supported by ads,” she says. “Companies gather information regarding who uses what and in what ways.”
Krebs and Welsh say privacy laws haven’t kept up with the explosion of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. A little training, however, can make web users a lot savvier.