Individual users of the Internet, however, have a personal responsibility to be safe guardians of their own data.
The recent AOL search query data disclosure “gaffe” should serve to illustrate the proactive role users must play in their own defense.
The AOL user that reporters were able to easily track down via her search queries, willingly entered into a public search query box data “breadcrumbs” of a highly revealing and personally specific nature.
Perhaps the woman was personally negligent in excessively entering overly personal and easily identifiable data on herself, and on others, into a search query box over the public Internet.
Public disregard for the privacy and security of highly personal, and identifiable, information is rampant throughout society.
Every individual out in public these days is subject to hearing an array of personal information openly, and publicly, revealed daily by millions of average citizens: diseases afflicting specific individuals, “mean” treatment by certain bosses,” “inconsiderate” actions of own spouses, “unruly” behavior of one’s children… all loudly proclaimed, in public, via cellular phone networks.
Millions of tech savvy individuals use, and are clamoring to use, Google’s Gmail, a system which openly states it data mines personal email communications, and sells ads against the personal data.
According to Google:
Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail…Use Google search to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received. Don't throw anything away. Over 2753.300749 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.
While Google proudly proclaims it will never delete its users personal information, and asserts its right to commercially exploit such personal data, tech savvy Internet users willingly feed the Google personal data mining engine daily.