New Year's Resolutions for Online Privacy and Safety

online_privacyThe New Year will be ringing in shortly. This is a time of reflection for many as they examine themselves and make resolutions on how they can improve their lives.

With the internet, and now Facebook, being such a prominent force in our daily existence, it is no surprise that resolutions related to this sphere are common and important.

Michael Fertik, CEO of ReputationDefender shared five resolutions that could be beneficial for anyone seeking to take control and protect their online presence.

  1. I will think before I post, “Do I want my mom, healthcare provider, insurer, < INSERT ANYONE > reading this?” Before you expose any revealing or personal information online, consider your audience. Health care providers, financial and insurance institutions, business partners and many more are following your every search, tweet, post and “like” in order to decide how you’ll be rated, priced or targeted. Think twice before blogging about your New Year’s escapades or becoming a FourSquare Mayor of your local clinic.
  2. I will be a stealthy surfing ninja. It’s time to enter ninja-stealth mode. Know that you are being tracked online, and that currently, consumers aren’t protected by regulation or industry. Here’s the scenario: We think that we’re getting a free lunch online, but even though a site is free, it doesn’t mean you’re not paying; if a site is free, “you” are the product. Companies collect information about “you the consumer” online in order to develop the most robust and data-rich digital dossiers. The more bits and bytes they can collect, the higher the worth. Take control over your online searches by entering ninja mode and surfing anonymously. ReputationDefender offers solutions to remove individuals from being tracked online.
  3. I will do an online cleanse. Do you really need 2,356 Facebook friends or a massive Twitter following? Which databases does your personal information appear in? Which outdated social networks show up in your Google search? It’s important to be aware of all the mentions and connections you have online. Decide which content you would like to be representative of you and which information should not be revealed (i.e. home addresses, DOB, telephone numbers). Resolve to take control of how you appear online by beginning the New Year with an Internet detox.
  4. I will not slam < INSERT ANYONE > online. In 2010 we saw the negative and often tragic repercussions of online slamming and mudslinging. Cyberbullying took on extreme levels, at times more akin to cybertorture. On the business side, countless people lost their jobs as a result of tweets and posts that were not so well thought out. If your boss were within earshot, would you whine about how underappreciated you are or how you’re planning to quit? Probably not. Comments are even more loud and permanent on the web. Internet attacks and slams are not productive or helpful to anyone; resolve to play nice online this year.
  5. I will not overshare. Oversharing online has reached what can only be the zenith — it must get better from here! Oversharing runs the gamut from harmless and banal Facebook updates (“Fido ate his biscuit!!!!”) to compromising and damaging tweets (“My boss is an @#%). While the impact of oversharing may not be felt immediately, remember the Internet never forgets and the triumphs of today may end up the tragedies of tomorrow.

Read the original news release here:

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