Do you think you should have greater control over the information that platforms collect and share about you and your online practices?

Submit to Discussion 15 a post of at least 300 words discussing the one of the following topics:
As more and more of our lives move online, we are increasingly concerned with privacy and the privacy and protection of our information online. Look at the privacy policy for the information system you are studying for class, for Twitter (which is in this week’s materials), or for an information system you are interested in and discuss: a) what information the information system collects, b) how it is used, and c) who it is shared with. Was there anything in the privacy policy that surprised you? Do you think you should have greater control over the information that platforms collect and share about you and your online practices? You will need to do some outside research to answer this prompt (by looking at the privacy policy for the I.S. you chose). Please link to your sources and provide quotations, along with references, for ideas and quotations you take from someone else.
This week, we encountered the concept of “information friction” in lecture and in the reading by Esther Dyson. Our digital society, and the push to put everything online, decreases information friction and increases the availability of previously private information online. Think of an example of something that promotes information friction and therefore limits the information available online about people or even an individual. What are some of the ways this tactic increases information friction? Is this information currently online? What can we do to lessen the digital dossier available about us? If you need hints for ways that you might answer this question, think about my case, as I discussed in lecture: since I am a public employee, details about my employment (and salary) are available online (you can even find my salary for my previous job in California if you so wish). How is this different from, say 40 years ago? Think about my name. There are only between 7 and 9 people in the United States with the same name as me (I think they are counting a couple of us more than once in the data, but I will *never* correct this). Is it easier or harder to locate information about someone named David Smith than someone named Nadine Kozak? Another interesting thought here is that there is limited available information about my family in the people searches because none of my family lives in the U.S. and personal information can be harder to locate in other countries. Also, I restrict what I post on social media about my personal life because so much of my career, and movement, is readily available online. These are just potential ways to think about this question. I want you to think about what we can do as individuals and as a society to decrease the amount of personal information about us online.
2. Comment on these 2 paragraphs with 150 words each
a)For this week’s Discussion, I chose to talk about Option 1,
Uber has been widely known for its rideshare app and its food delivery app. “This notice applies to users of Uber’s services anywhere in the world, including users of Uber’s apps, websites, features, or other services”. On Line 3 of Ubers Privacy Policy, you can see that they begin to list off what they do with users’ data and how it is collected from their websites, apps, and other services. On line 3, Uber begins to also explain how there 5 main topics behind why they collect user data, one of the five is User profiles, another is a Background check and identity verification, followed by Demographic data, with the last two being User content and Traveler information. A bit after all these topics are broken down, Uber explains in Part B of line 3 how they use the data that is collected them. Uber lists 6 main topics for using our data for their personal services or to improve their systems, the first three are To provide our services, Safety and security, and Customer support. When it comes to providing services uber says, “Uber uses data to provide, personalize, maintain, and improve our services”. This means that data that is collected will help improve their systems where users will have a better experience when it comes to using their apps and websites. Safety and security, “We use personal data to help maintain the safety, security, and integrity of our services and users”, which really means that Uber will be collecting user data to help make their apps more secure for users when it comes to supporting the systems from attacks and cyber threats. Customer support, “Uber uses the information we collect (which may include call recordings) to provide customer support, including to investigate and address user concerns and to monitor and improve our customer support responses and processes”. What I don’t really like about this statement is that Uber claims that they “might” include our calls recordings, which to me really seems they might be listening in to our calls even when we don’t know. But I guess when it comes to major claims when they are being sued by users or they are suing companies for their systems when they are hacked this can help by providing voice recordings of hackers or specific users. The last three main topics of how our data is used by Uber are Research and development and Enabling communications between users, the final one being Marketing. When it comes to research and development, “We may use personal data for testing, research, analysis, product development, and machine learning to improve the user experience. This helps us make our services more convenient and easy-to-use, enhance the safety and security of our services, and develop new services and features”. Uber says that they use user information to do data testing and some major analysis for product management. Enabling communications between users, Uber doesn’t really use a good example for this one but Uber said that when a driver calls a rider to find out their specific location this is how communication is used to help users find their drivers in time. Finally Marketing, “Uber may use personal data to market our services to our users. This includes sending users communications about Uber services, features, promotions, sweepstakes, studies, surveys, news, updates, and events. We may do so through various methods, including email, text messages, push notifications, in-app communications, and ads, and ads on third party platforms”. After reading this statement I was able to really learn how Uber really uses user data to promote their systems to Users again but refreshed through texts, phone calls, and even email. I think this is a very good way to communicate with their users to stay on track to help riders and drivers do their daily tasks with less stress or error.
When it comes to who Uber shares this user data, it is their close business partners, who end up being Google, Tik Tok, and Facebook. On-Line 3 of Part D Uber states, “Google, in connection with the use of Google Maps in Uber’s apps” and “social media companies, including Facebook and TikTok, in connection with Uber’s use of their tools in Uber’s apps and websites”. This really just shows that our data is mainly already everywhere, most of us use all these companies’ apps already which means our data has been flying around these companies for a long time now. I really just felt uneasy when it came to finding out that Uber has our personal data shared with other big companies that have been known to get hacked or information stolen easily. My overall conclusion is that Uber should allow users to choose if they would like to share their personal data with other companies because our data is important to us and it can really lead to someone taking your data which can lead to huge disasters like identity theft.
b)For the discussion this week I wanted to talk about the first option for the discussion posts. As this actually highly related to the assignment that I have been doing for the class as well. For my information system I chose to talk about Facebook. As many of us may know when it comes to privacy concerns and privacy policies Facebook has ample examples of different issues they’ve had regarding privacy. For example, one of the first issues they had was Facebook actually tracking any of the online purchases you made and then from that would post about it on your feed so that all your friends know what you have recently bought. In theory this does not sound like such a terrible thing. However, many of these first users were not aware that Facebook was allowed to track this information, let along publicly post without their permission. Information such as this has been long controversial with Facebook. As many individuals will find themselves posting parts of their lives on this but have a strict line drawn on what is actually shared. With all the controversies that have surrounded Facebook that made attempts to help solve this by allowing the user to opt out of the information sharing with what they are doing on their devices. However, many people might not be educated in how to disable things like this if they no longer want access. Depending on what information you allow to be shared it can go to friends, family, different business, or Facebook itself. As all the data on what you do is compiled then the information system can focus on accommodating your interests best, like more targeted ads. I do believe that we should have greated power over what of our information is shared. However, I believe that the bigger focus should really be on educating people on how to protect themselves if they do not want to share the information.

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