Personal Information in the Digital Age


PersonalInformation in the Digital Age

Thereare many social media platforms that provide a valuable tool for manyindividuals and firms to extend their contacts and drive home theirmarketing messages. In the last five years, the number of individualsusing social media platforms has dramatically increased and so hasbeen the degree of risk to which the users are exposed (Hofmann &ampKlinkenberg, 2013). Cyber criminals have targeted naive onlinebrowsers and social media fans to achieve various selfish agenda.Social media platforms are sometimes referred to as friend-of –a-friend platform, and they run on the ancient notion where anindividual is connected to individuals they know all the time. Themain purpose of many of the social platforms such as Facebook,twitter, and Myspace was initially mean to be purely social, enablingusers to create close bonds and links with people they know and evenmake new acquaintances (Hofmann &amp Klinkenberg, 2013). With timeand because of the huge following they have also become importantsites for establishing business connections

Safetyof Personal Information

Largefood and drug stores such as Walgreens, and CVS pharmacies have beenreported to collect data on various consumers’ aspects such astheir buying habit, the amount they spend, their loyalty and whatthey want to purchase. Whenever an attendant swipes the card againstone of the screens that are mounted at the counters of the retailstores supermarkets, and pharmacies the screen has capability to notethe numbers of purchases that a customer has made in the last fewmonths and provides information on the products that you need(Cotton, Teager &amp Austin, 2002).

Allthe data collected is thoroughly analyzed to monitor the clientsshopping pattern, for instances the items or drugs that are purchasedwithin a certain period. Retail stores also use the informationderived from the cards is also used to establish what the clients aredoing outside their store. In the past retails stores such asWaitrose have engaged firms that analyze data such as Beyond Analysisto analyze data about shoppers so that they can decide whichlocations to introduced new stores (Cotton, Teager &amp Austin,2002). Such data is also used to establish the best clients anddesign coupons campaigns and target advertising. Evidently we havelost control of personal information because we have no control onhow it is collected and used by companies.

Predatorson the Internet

Eventhough the basic elements of different social media platforms vary,they all allow the user to provide personal information and offersome form of communication such as chat, email, forums and instantmessenger that enable the user to connect with other people (Hofmann&amp Klinkenberg, 2013). Sharing of personal information has exposeda user to cyber attacks and bullying from predators on the internet.

Sexualpredators pillaging the internet can easily create fake social mediaprofiles that do not give the right information of their personaldetails. Some of these cyber bullies strive to win the confidence ofyoung users by faking their age and pretending they are their peers.In this light, they create profiles that make the user believe thatare of their gender and age (Hofmann &amp Klinkenberg, 2013). Thismakes the social platform a breeding ground of child abuse and therisks for young users are extremely high.

SocialMedia in Employment

Todayemployers are using the social media more than before to screenpotential employee because the professional reputation of anindividual can be easily established through social platforms. Theimage that an individual maintains, the friends they maintain and theinformation the post is crucial in determining their suitabilitydepending on the organizational culture (Hofmann &amp Klinkenberg,2013). Through social platforms an employer can know what a potentialemployee said about previous company, information about their use ofdrugs and drinking, communication ability, qualification, associationwith criminal activities, and comments about gender and race bias.

DataBrokers and Marketers

DataBrokers is a term that is used to denote companies whose principalbusiness is gathering and selling consumer data and information. Asmentioned above Retail stores and pharmacies collect huge volumes ofinformation from store loyalty cards and some of them sell thisinformation to data brokers for a fee. Consumer data firms are mininghuge volume of consumer information about individuals around theglobe and sell it to marketers.

Databrokers gather information about consumers from a wide array ofoffline an online sources such as census records, real propertyrecords, emails, social media platforms, retailer system and evenmotor vehicle records. In most cases such data is amassed without thepermission or knowledge of the consumer, incorporated and synthesizedusing sophisticated analytical apparatus, package and then traded toother data brokers, advertisers, government agencies and marketersfor a range of purposes.

Consumerand user personal information, including health history, shoppingbehavior is made available to insurers, criminals, employers, lawenforcers and creditors by are sold by data marketers at a givenspecified fee. Some firms mine into the private and public databasesand collect vital information and statistics about various aspectsand this is sold to companies for marketing purposes (Hofmann &ampKlinkenberg, 2013. Government and other private companies have highvolume of raw data which can be sold to data marketers (GreatBritain, 2008). Immense volumes of data are also being mined on theinternet including social media platforms. Firms and marketingcompanies have been collecting information about users (consumers)and prospective clients for many years, gathering their addresses,names, credit cards purchases and requesting consumers to fillvarious questionnaires (Hofmann &amp Klinkenberg, 2013). Theinformation that social media users give is harvested by datamarketers and sold to different people and organizations. Our dailymovements, what we like and dislike, our bad habits, and even ourclosest acquaintances all can be gathered for commercial purposes. Itis evident that in the digital age we have totally lost control ofour personal information

Waysof Protecting Ourselves on the Internet

Thereare no sure ways of protecting ourselves on the internet because newloopholes and high-tech hacking techniques keep on surfacing.Nonetheless, social media users can protect themselves by limitingthe amount of personal information revealed in the user profile. Auser should make sure they do not post information that can make themprone to online predators such as information about our routine andhome address (Payton, Claypoole&amp Schmidt, 2014). Making sure thatthe information posted in not more than what we would be comfortablewith strangers knowing. Being cautious of strangers is another way ofprotecting ourselves from marauding attackers. It is important toknow that the internet makes it easy for individuals to misrepresenttheir motives and even their identities. In this vein, individualsshould consider limiting the number of individuals who can contact uson the social platforms. In the event that a user is interacting withstrangers, caution should be taken so as not to give too muchinformation about our personal information and agreeing to meet them.

Itis always important to remain skeptical about the things that we seeand read on the social sites. Some users may post deceptiveinformation about various subjects, including their own identities.The problem is that a user can not know with certainty, whether suchfalsehood is intentional, a joke or done with malicious intentions.Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take apt precaution bytrying to verify the authenticity of the information that is postedon the social platforms. We can also protect ourselves throughevaluating the default setting of various sites, being cautious ofthird party applications, using very strong passwords, and makingsure we always check the privacy policies of various platforms sothat we do not lose control of our personal information without ourknowledge (Payton, Claypoole&amp Schmidt, 2014).

Childrenare prone to the threats posed by bullies and other attackers on theinternet. In spite of the fact that there is an age limit, childrencan cheat on their age to join some of the popular sites such asFacebook and Twitter (Payton, Claypoole&amp Schmidt, 2014). Parentshave a duty to teach such young children about internet safety, makesure they are aware of their offspring online habits, and showingthem the apt sites to prevent online marauders from infringing ontheir privacy.



Cotton,S., Teager, G., &amp Austin, R. (2002). Megabyte.Oxford: Oxford University Pres

GreatBritain. (2008). Asurveillance society?: Fifth report of session 2007-08.London: Stationery Office.

Hofmann,M., Klinkenberg, R. (2013). RapidMiner: Data Mining Use Cases andBusiness Analytics Applications. CRC Press, 2013

Payton,T., Claypoole, T., &amp Schmidt, H. A. (2014). Privacy in the age ofbig data: Recognizing threats, defending your rights, and protectingyour family.

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