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Privacy Commissioner Advises for Privacy Protection on Social Networking Sites

Karen Curtis, the Federal Privacy Commissioner for Australia, on December 18 2007, urged users of the Internet to protect their privacy while browsing social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. ComputerWorld reported this on December 20, 2007.

According to Curtis, it is important for Internet users to adopt a proactive approach in safeguarding their private information on such sites.

He said that many people willingly post their personal details and photos on sites for social networking without giving a thought to their possible accesses by unreliable strangers. Several instances prevail where people adding personal details on social networking sites have suffered bitter experiences at some later stage.

A new Unisys Security Index indicates that on the basis of the age of users, Australians are reluctant to give away personal details on social networking websites.

Vice President and General Manager, Andrew Barkla, for Unisys Asia-Pacific, said that age clearly plays an important role in terms of how comfortable or uncomfortable a person feels in giving out specific private information to a social networking site. SCMagazine reported this on December 19, 2007.

The research by Unisys indicates that Australians aged between 18 and 34 years have twice as many chances of not feeling uncomfortable in providing their personal details such as full name, age and e-mail address than those aged between 50 and 64.

Curtis analyzed that in just the way behavior change helps to improve road safety relating to fast driving or driving when drunk, so can similar tactics be employed to minimize the risk during social networking on the Internet.

Curtis strongly advised Australians to know their rights on privacy and adopt steps to protect their privacy when online with sites on social networking.

Furthermore, Gartner, a research firm, believes that organizations should be innovative in making the best use of technology instead of blocking access. Jay Heiser, Research Vice President for Gartner, said that IT is not meant to either erect walls or lock systems. SCMagazine reported on December 19, 2007.

Heiser said that using regulation to lock down everything is just value dwindled. Security does not imply rendering zero risk, rather it means managing the risks.

Related article: Privacy And Data Protection Critical To Future Success

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