So she was a little startled Wednesday, when learning just how much of her personal information may be getting tracked as she sends e-mails and surfs the Web, who may be monitoring that kind of information and the prevalence of that online tracking.
"I just want to go home and check a lot of things," said McVeigh. She was among about 70 people who attended a privacy forum organized by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Bar/Press Committee as part of its
"I think we have to take it more seriously," she said.
That's the kind of advice
The student, under 21, had posted what could become an incriminating photo of himself at a party where there were obvious signs of beer drinking.
"Some of it is just common sense," Stevens said. "Don't put a picture of yourself underage drinking and think that some day that's not going to come back and haunt you."
As Jackson, head of
"Literally, people will break up with their partners by changing their Facebook status," Jackson said. "It's an interesting paradox that people want to share their day-to-day lives with friends. What they forget it's in a public forum. It's literally like going to the bulletin board and posting stuff that anyone who goes by can see."
The potential implications of social media use were underscored in the high-profile case of
Elonis posted threats, sometimes styled as rap lyrics, to kill his wife, slash an
Stevens recalled a slip-and-fall court case in which defense attorneys for an insurance company found photos of the person who sued bowling and doing other things on
"It's a challenge," the judge said. "I can just take your picture and have it on my Facebook account in 20 seconds. The problem is, people get comfortable."
He illustrated the point of Internet users logging into their bank accounts using public domains in places such as cafes and libraries where you wouldn't know who would have access to the information you're divulging.
Jackson said the burden is completely on consumers to protect their identity. He said Internet users can adjust settings to prevent tracking by the Googles and Yahoos of the world, but there is no guarantee that request will be honored. That tracking helps generate billions of dollars from companies whose advertisements show up on computer screens based on the users' viewing habits.
He recommended using one specific browser to access personal banking and medical insurance websites and another for general browsing to lower the risk of security breaches.
"There needs to be a shift toward who is in the best position to protect privacy," Jackson said. "Typically, that is going to be creating industry standards."
PRIVACY FORUM ON TV
-- A panel discussion on privacy rights, held Wednesday afternoon at
The program will also be available online at pcntv.com.
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