A European Commission study shows that, “In the 15 to 24 age group, only 33% were aware of their rights in relation to their own personal data. Only 18% knew of the existence of national data protection supervisory authorities,” says Jacques Barrot, a vice president of the European Union. He says that young people are should be educated about online privacy protections because they “increasingly use new technologies to communicate, exchange information and socialize through the online social networking sites, such as Facebook.”
The International Herald Tribune reports, “The alarm comes amid an outpouring of concern from parents and privacy advocates about the potentially negative effects of posting personal details and photographs to popular Web sites accessible from virtually any computer.” Also, “EU officials also are concerned that information collected from such sites could be used by companies to flood consumers with unsolicited advertising or used by government agencies to compromise citizens’ civil liberties.”
Barrot also says, “They are exposing their every day life online without being aware of the risks the online activities could entail now and in the future for their own privacy.”
I agree that people need to be more aware of what it means to post such personal data online, whether in social networking sites, blogs or other forums. I have written about how data from social networking sites are being used against job applicants, applicants to colleges and graduate schools, various current employees, and in criminal trials. Once data is published online, it’s difficult to control who sees it and how the data is used.