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My Digital Security

Before taking this Digital Media Literacy course I’ll be honest I have not thought about the security of my personal information online. I mean I absolutely use passwords and two factor authentication but putting measures in place to protect my sensitive information was not on my mind. It is good to know that there are currently ad blockers, encryption, privacy settings, and other ways to help protect online users. If the user is actively updating their software and reads through the terms of service for third party sharing, the risk of security breaches is lowered.

The reason that I have not installed ad blockers on my system is because I do not want it to interfere with my ASU Online courses and the affiliated websites and software. Given this is the last week of class, I am just not willing to risk the ad blocker interfering with my online college software. Ad Blocker is something I will test out to prevent the advertisements that bog down the loading speeds and redirect. Another thing that I am interested in looking more into is DuckDuckGo. This browser extension allows for private browsing and had tracking blockers and encryption built in. I love the idea of being able to search more privately and securely, but ultimately every website has their own Terms of Service and has the potential to misuse or mishandle user personal data.

One of the biggest things that I do to protect myself and my personal information is I do not overshare online. Sometimes online users will post information that gives away locating details that can be dangerous in some cases. For example, live videos show your live location, and this can give a burglar an opportunity to break in to your home if that location is not home. Location sharing is something I refrain from, and I rarely go live unless I want to bring people around me. I just understand that when I go live that it is public information what I do, what I say, what is in the background, etc. These are examples of locating details that people accessing online activity can use to locate the user, but since it’s online the intent is not clear or known to the user.

A person’s image is important to their social interaction and sometimes over the course of the internet old websites and webpages accumulate over the years. I would like to do my part and work on removing outdated webpages and personal data of mine that is available currently online. I understand that I can take the time and submit these requests of removal myself or I can pay to have a company do it for me. Most likely I will do it myself and possibly contact an outside company like Norton to help with the process.

In conclusion, I plan on taking quite a few security measures of my personal information online. I plan on testing out DuckDuckGo and Ad Blocker after I conclude my current courses. This is so I can be certain that the software will not interfere with my online college experience. I will read websites Terms of Service, especially if I plan to share personal information on the website. Finally, I will not disclose locating details and will work to remove old webpages affiliated with myself.

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My Concern with the Control of the Media

My main concern with the control of the media is although there are government laws and policies put in place to protect the user’s personal information, many big tech companies may ask the user to agree to terms removing or modifying these rights.  Some big tech companies also have the user agree to terms that allow that company and its business partners to share and use the users’ personal information for the business partners’ products and services. Facebook, for example, accepts payment from its business partners to promote their business partner’s ads and provide their business partners with its users personal and demographic information. Facebook also uses its user’s personal data to improve and promote Facebook products and services, so, my concern is why doesn’t Facebook offer an incentive to its users for the information they use to improve and promote Facebooks products and services? Facebook and other big tech companies that are like a monopoly realize their power and are confident they will not be brought down, and the media will continue to be controlled by them because so many people and businesses rely on their network, community, and marketplace.

Freedom of speech is another concern that I have because the “monopolized” companies like Facebook has the biggest social network and has the power to filter content and people. Another way to put it is they have the power to silence speech in the biggest online platform community. They also have the power to promote or share media in a way to control what information reaches the mass consumers. Big tech corporations have the power, but that power is given to them by the mass consumers whose content they control.

Another piece of control in the media are company paid ads. Using consumer personal information to promote third party companies should in my opinion be a program to opt into by the user, not pushed to every user automatically. When consumers are overwhelmed with ads online it also overwhelms bandwidth speeds and is subject to “click-bate” and redirection from the intended website. There are ad blockers, anti-tracking software, incognito browsers, and DuckDuckGo, but these are all measures that I feel should not be necessary as advertisements should not be so overbearing. Also, all these programs come with their own “terms of service/agreement” and are subject to change.

Overall, I believe that the control in the media is in the hands of monopolized companies such as Facebook and fueled by the consumers and business partners relying so much on its online network/community. When these companies interfere with freedom of speech or the user’s online experience is when I believe there is a problem. Also, the ads being pushed to users are based on online activity and may have some inaccuracies or have some privacy concerns when pushing ads to users. Especially if a user is showing their Facebook timeline to someone else and an ad with privacy concerns pops up it can have negative effects on that user. This is because the ad is then in direct correlation of the users activity online whether it be financial, medical, or just private information to that user.

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