Posts Tagged ‘privacy’


Social Networking

March 8, 2011

I joined LinkedIn this week. So far my only connections are my old boyfriend in Montreal, my ex-landlord, the woman who runs the Ancaster farmers’ market, and a software developer friend. I must say, I have a deep aversion to the idea of posting an online resume with no control over who might view it. And it upsets me that this might be expected of someone looking for a job. Honestly, isn’t anything private anymore?

My husband’s Facebook profile was hacked again this week. It’s not like he had top-secret information on his profile, but it still feels like a violation. Somehow, someone accessed his account and hijacked his profile picture and replaced it with another image. Here’s a screenshot – you can see the “rogue” profile photo in the top left-hand corner:

We couldn’t get rid of the image because Sean didn’t upload it; it wasn’t in his photo album, so he couldn’t delete it. The funny thing is that the picture was only showing up on our computer, and only in Internet Explorer (I tried Safari and Firefox, and they were okay). I tried to do a bit of troubleshooting – but no one I talked to had heard of this particular problem before. I did a Google search, as well as searching the topics in Facebook’s Help Center. Contacting Facebook about the problem felt like approaching a monolith – I sent screenshots and described the problem but, as expected, I received no response. I ran a virus scan, which came back with nothing. We thought, perhaps, that Sean would have to close down his Facebook account entirely if he wanted to be rid of the unwanted photo. In the end, I’m ashamed to say how simple the solution was – I deleted all recent browsing history, and the rogue profile picture disappeared!

Which brings me around to the idea of using social networking in the workplace… Certainly, security and privacy are important issues for organizations to take seriously when using social networking sites. Ultimately, organizations should recognize that they have less control over social networking profiles than websites that they create and manage themselves. Even Mark Zuckerberg was a recent victim of hacking on Facebook. One has to ask, “If the Facebook CEO (more accurately, the PR team that’s handling the page for him) can’t keep his Facebook account safe from intruders, who can?” (Schroeder, 2011).

Off hand, I’d just like to mention that Sean was able figure out where the mysterious profile image came from. On Facebook, the image was tiny and difficult to see. It looked a bit like a blown-out car window and a bloody backseat – which is kind of freaky to have as your profile picture. Anyway, Sean remembered reading an article in the Hamilton Spectator about the assassination of the only Christian minister in Pakistan’s government. The article ran with this photo:

So, like a Lois Weisberg of obscure knowledge, Sean made a connection between the car in this photo and the car in his hacked profile picture. He was able to track down a copy of the image on the internet in less than five minutes. Here’s a bigger version:

Pretty gruesome. Needless to say, I’m not feeling enthralled with social networking this week.



February 4, 2011

In one of this week’s readings, Meredith Farkas discusses the use of wikis to make library websites more participatory; she suggests using wikis to create subject guides, community bulletin boards, and catalogue records which the public can add to or annotate. I think I’ve expressed in earlier posts that I really appreciate these types of interactive functions on library websites. However, I also wonder if opening up a library’s website for public input might create some serious problems. We’ve probably all had class discussions about privacy and censorship issues – it seems to me that applying Web 2.0 functions to library websites and OPACs might reopen both these cans of worms. How do we monitor user comments on an interactive OPAC? Do we censor comments and tags that we find offensive or inappropriate? (And how do we determine what is inappropriate?) Maybe this isn’t a problem most of the time, but surely it happens occasionally… And what about the quality of information – do we “weed” links added to subject guides that we feel offer poor quality information? It seems the moderation of a big library website and OPAC could require a huge amount of time (and money), and may require making a lot of difficult decisions. And with regard to privacy, should we be asking our patrons to share so much information about what they are reading? Librarians have been strong advocates for privacy; does this represent a change we should be concerned about?

I know there are a lot of benefits that can come from the use of Web 2.0 functions by libraries. Is there a simple answer to these questions that I’m missing?