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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Investing in the future of information

    By Brittany Snow

    Staff Writer

    Companies, especially those involved in the media, use the technique of transparency to allow users to see what the company is about and honestly reveal how they get information about a person. According to Wikipedia, transparency in the media is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means. One thing that is not mentioned, is what they do with a person’s personal information. Giving other companies information from customers, who thought their information would stay private, should not be seen as a marketing strategy, especially if those whose information is being sold is not aware. Users should be accurately notified by social media platforms concerning what companies do with users information.

    Transparency may be under fire due to the most recent Facebook scandal, where personal information of up to 87 million users found out their information had been sold to companies. This particular situation may have people questioning whether or not it is something they should trust.

    Knowing what companies do with users informations might make people lose trust or interest in the product given to them. By using information that is given to the platforms, although people assume that it will remain confidential, platforms are crossing boundaries and are invading the privacy of users.

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), there are two current pending California internet privacy laws regarding the protection of users information. A.B. 375, or the California Broadband Internet Privacy Act would prohibit an internet service provider to distribute any personal information of the user without consent. Users would be asked whether or not they would like to give out details, such as e-mails, to other companies and advertisers.

    States such as Connecticut and Florida have had failed proposals regarding the protection of personal information. More than half the states have pending laws. Oregon, however, has enacted an internet privacy law that prohibits the public from contracting with service providers that engage in network management activities based on “paid prioritization, content blocking or other discrimination”.

    People know as much as they’re given. If they were to be given a brief summary on what they share with third party apps or to advertisers, then they may be able to brace themselves for the different advertisements to come.

    Although people may not be alerted as to where their information goes, they seem to trust what is being advertised to them more than they did over a decade ago.

    As reported by the recent Nielson study, people in 58 countries were asked to what extent they trust certain advertisements. A couple of these advertisements included “recommendations from people I know” which was at an 87 percent as well as “branded websites” which was at a 69 percent. The trust in both ads had upped since 2007, with recommendations previously having a 78 percent and websites with a 60 percent.

    These recommendations and advertisements might be intriguing. Especially when they are flashing or continually pop up on a person’s screen.

    If companies were honest with where user information goes to, than users might know what information they could include in an “About Me” tab. Although including information regarding where users data goes might scare potential customers, the companies are then known as honest and not put under fire when scandals such as that of Facebook occur.

    Transparency is a good thing to have to get to know the user and the owner of the service/product. The owners should be honest with their users and tell them what they do with their information. Another possible option would be to not sell an individual’s personal information. It may be seen as a marketing strategy, but giving out personal data about a user for profit is wrong and should no longer be allowed.

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    Investing in the future of information