Australian Privacy Commissioner warns of social networking site dangers

Australian Federal Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis, today urged Internet users to safeguard their privacy when visiting social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.Curtis said Internet users need to take a proactive role in protecting their personal information on these sites.”Many people are all too readily posting photos and personal details of themselves and their friends on social networking sites without necessarily thinking about who else may obtain access to the personal information,” she said.
http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1135158447;fp;2;fpid;1Also see:
Protect your privacy on social networking sites, says Australian Privacy Commissioner [news release]
Recognising growing community concerns about the potential privacy risks associated with social networking websites, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has issued advice to Australians – especially teenagers – about protecting their personal information on these sites.”Many people are all too readily posting photos and personal details of themselves and their friends on social networking sites without necessarily thinking about who else may obtain access to the personal information,” said Ms Karen Curtis, the Australian Privacy Commissioner.”Stories abound of people finding that posting personal information on a social networking site has come back to bite them at a later stage.”Commonly used social networking sites include MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Friendster. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s advice about the sites appears in new FAQs available at www.privacy.gov.au/faqs/ypr/index.html#social_networking.The FAQs offer four main steps people can take to minimise the potential privacy risks associated with social networking sites:

  1. Know your rights: read the site’s privacy policy.
  2. Be careful what information you share on the site.
  3. Use the privacy tools on the site – control access to your search listing and profile.
  4. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.

With regard to any privacy-related complaints about a social networking site, the FAQs recommend:

  1. Contacting the site.
  2. Complaining to the site’s ‘trust-mark’ issuer.
  3. Calling our Office’s privacy enquiries line for advice on 1300 363 992.

“I strongly recommend that Australians should know their privacy rights and take steps to safeguard their privacy when visiting social networking sites,” said Ms Curtis.
http://www.privacy.gov.au/news/media/2007_23.html

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