Part 3: Issues surrounding the user of MSN or LBSN
Social network information is now being used in ways for which it may have not been originally intended. In particular, increased use of Smartphone’s capable of running applications which access social network information enable applications to be aware of a user’s location and preferences. However, current models for exchange of this information require users to compromise their privacy and security .
As the mobile social networking arena evolves, challenges clearly remain. Although mobile devices allow people to stay connected to the community, limitations such as small screens on mobile devices, poor connectivity and issues of privacy and security will continue to be of concern to users. New advances in technology both on the infrastructure side and the device side are needed in order for this segment to move forward .
Recent advances on capable mobile devices and social networking applications (OSNAs) are quickly converging, accelerating the transition of pervasive computing from vision to reality. The open mobile platforms, particularly Apple iPhone and Google Android, make it much easier than before for developers to build third-party applications that may potentially used by millions of people on their always-on always-carried mobile devices. While Google Android is yet to be released, Apple iPhone has already claimed six millions of users and expects to sell more than 24 million units in 2009 . On the other front, OSNAs, such as Facebook and MySpace, have become extremely popular in the past several years. For example, Facebook had 123.9 million unique visitors in May, 2008 . Given the availability of open mobile platforms, it is only natural to expect that people will increasingly use OSNAs on their cell phones. In particular, iPhone has unique multi-touch interface, geo-localization capability, and embedded sensors, which may well boost user experience of MSNAs. As location can be used to find and interact with nearby events, business, and friends, privacy concerns remain as a significant design challenge for MSNAs. There have been several user studies on privacy issues of location disclosure [23, 24, 25, 26, 27] and several guidelines on protecting privacy have been proposed [28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33]. It is, however, unclear how real world applications, particularly MSNAs that leverage location, have implemented privacy protections
Studies have been conducted by Sarah Jean Fusco and his colleagues presenting that there are 6 categories of issues surrounding the use of MSN or LBSN, which is showed in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Issues Surrounding MSN or LBSN 
And the key issue privacy, which we will analyze in this paper.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, privacy is 1) The quality or state of being apart from company or observation, 2) Seclusion, freedom from unauthorized intrusion <one’s right to privacy> and 3) The state of privacy is simply described as a place of seclusion. Upon reading this, the definition sounds clear and concise. Unfortunately, though the traditional meaning of privacy is changing as we apply it to our use of new media. Privacy pertaining to Social Networking Sites is defined in this context as personal information that an individual thinks is important and not accessible by the general population. Personal information includes a person’s name, address, e-mail address, online user name, telephone number, social security number, and any other background information with which that person could be identified. Privacy also involves the individual’s right to control the distribution of personal information. Having the power to control the sharing of information and how it will be used is an individual’s right to privacy .
MSN or LBSN among other technologies of new media not only have a positive impact on society but a negative or dark side as well. One of the main issues is the user’s privacy. According to “Why Web 2.0 will end your privacy,” Will Harris emphasizes the reason why social networks and sites such as MySpace are worth the price they are in the market are because of data or information . More specifically it is our data and information from all of the social networking sites’ users. Everything we have ever uploaded and details about us are with them as well. This type of information is useful for the market as companies would be interested in statistically, what we are interested in and target specific locations, age groups or networks.
In one hand we are benefited from the social networking sites as we are able to keep in touch with our family and friends. On the other hand we need to be very careful when we use this site because we are risking our privacy. Almost all sites that offer free services, online networking or shopping, keep records of our activities and amalgamates it with data from online tracking sources and sell it to someone. Most likely they sell our information to the companies who need our information for advertisement of their products. There are no U.S. Federal statutes that protect online privacy. There is no effective control over the use of personal information by online surveillance.
As social networking and new media are enhancing, it shifts our social values. The usage of online credit cards are raising as convenience is important in society. But the same time, we face the loss of personal privacy which may include medical and financial details. According to Intelligence Factory observers, true anonymity is no longer possible. With today’s society moving in a faster pace than ever, features such as same day delivery and instant meals will only cause future generations to expect faster and better service.
In the near future the market and society will overall continue to advance or become enhanced through social networking and technologies of new media. And as social networking websites attempt to protect users privacy in steps, securities will further enhance as social networking continues to become part of our daily lives.
Methodologies to protect your privacy
Securing your personal information on social networking sites isn’t only a matter of privacy. It’s also an important step in preventing identity theft. If you share personal information online, you make it easier for identity thieves to make off with your life story (and credit cards, and social security number, etc.) without a second thought. Victims of identity theft can suffer significant financial losses, and can spend years working to “clear their name.”
Users of social networking sites and online communities should be aware of the legal implications of publicly posted information and ways to protect their privacy online. Here are some suggested ways to protect your privacy on social networking sites:
• Use Social Networking Sites wisely. Understand which information you should and shouldn’t share and how you can actively set limits (privacy settings) on the information you share. Each social networking sites takes a slightly a different approach to sharing your information.
• Be aware that information posted on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other online networking places is public. Think twice before pressing “Publish” or “Share.” Avoid sharing personal information such as phone numbers and addresses online. Change passwords every thirty to sixty days, and don’t use passwords that are easy to guess (such as variations of loved one’s names) .
• Be proactive in finding and using the controls these sites provide to protect your personal information and reduce your exposure to identity theft. According to McAfee, users should be weary of the links they click on Facebook. It might look like a Farmville invite, but it may contain malicious third party applications link .
According to the Myspace Safety a user should follow these rules :
•Children are the most likely to post valuable information on the website without realizing that it is potentially placing them in danger. Young children may also not be as perceptive to a phony profile on a website as someone who is older. Keeping the computer in a shared area allows others to know that they are being watched and therefore helps keep them out of danger from saying inappropriate things to strangers.
•It is recommended that the user always have some sort of firewall or anti-spamming program installed. People are able to embed viruses into their links which puts the visitor at risk of becoming infected.
•It is advised to all members that they should display caution when choosing on whether or not to have contact with a social networking member rather than keeping the relationship strictly virtual.
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