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Social Networks and Privacy


Social media is always a concern that is very poorly understood and executed by Organizations. The integration of social media with their marketing strategies by businesses and other organizations is going to continue to raise new privacy concerns. For instance, hospitals and physicians and other groups are promoting the use of social networking sites by physicians to help their patients. One of the companies who sell hospital systems had an authentication system linked to Facebook to provide access to the patient care system. This could be a disaster to manage if any of the users are not able to manage their personal privacy settings which are always a user purgative for a social networking site.
 Most social networks have good search capabilities which people use to find their friends or activities, information they might be interested in. This is a double edged sword. It is pertinent to be aware of privacy settings, especially when messages travel between different social networks (you might relay your Foursquare location to your public Twitter account), complicating the privacy parameters. Feeds you trust to share with friends and acquaintances have the power to profile you.
In 2007 when Facebook launched the Beacon program, user rental records were released on the public for friends to see. A lot of data collected by Yahoo! and MSN (Microsoft), have been posted online for trend and behavior analysis of its users too.
Google created "Buzz" which was attached to Gmail, and allowed for social networking among other users. EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) filed a claim asserting "that Google engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices by transforming its email service into a social networking service without offering users meaningful control over their information or opt-in consent." The FTC worked at establishing new privacy safeguards for users of Google products in October of 2011 which are effective March 2012. Google has recently issues a new set of Privacy Policy guideline which requires Google to obtain consent from their users before disclosing any information and also follow a comprehensive privacy program. Because of this case, Google now amalgamates all of its data files about users into one merged file from each Google service, instead of keeping distinct files for each Google service used by each user. 

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