What liking says about us

Automatic publishing, social plugins – the new ITA Dossier looks at current practices of our most frequented social media platforms.

Who can resist the temptation? Online, opinions are easily made public to a large audience – and remain stored on remote servers for many years. For Michael Nentwich, director and Internet researcher at the ITA, there is a serious lack of options for users to protect their data from being used for commercial or advertising purposes.

The new ITA Dossier „Social Media Privacy?“ focuses on measures for better data protection. “Privacy should be protected by default. More often than not, this is not the case. Users have to put in extra effort to adjust their settings, sometimes not even this is an option”, stresses Nentwich.

A good example for the ongoing dealings with our data is the popular Like button on Facebook, the most important social media platform with more than a billion users. With the help of the Like button, Facebook has all the information it needs about us to create national or regional audience profiles. More important than the data we enter, however, is the so-called implicit data, which we create simply by being logged in.

More self-control, less centralization

The mere storing of data is not the only issue Nentwich has with social media hosts: He sees very little possibility to control the life span of one’s data: „Each and every user should have the option to delete their data. There should also be less opportunity for providers to cross-check and filter individual data. This could be achieved by using decentralized storage systems.”

You can download the new ITA Dossier “Social Media Privacy?” here (2 pages, German)

Further Reading

News articel: Smartphones – The spy in your pocket
Themenseiten: Privacy, Information Society
Projektseiten: Cloud-Computing, The use of geo data on mobile devices

By: Denise Riedlinger

Every Like is registered and used to create audience profiles. (Photo: Wiki Commons)