Off Your Facebook

Given this week’s focus on personal data in the public domain, the Information Commissioners Office has been timely in releasing a report today on the potential dangers of the content which young people are leaving online.

David Smith, deputy commissioner for the ICO claims, “Many young people are posting content online without thinking about the electronic footprint they leave behind. The cost to a person’s future can be very high if something undesirable is found by the increasing number of education institutions and employers using the internet as a tool to vet potential students or employees.”

The hazards associated with open profiles on social networks are not new, but the message clearly isn’t getting through. The report found that half of those questioned had little or no restrictions on who could view their profiles. More tellingly 71% of 2,000 14 to 21-year-olds said they would not want colleges or employers to do a web search on them before they had removed some material!

The stat which the social networks will perhaps be most concerned with is that 95% of those surveyed had real concerns about personal details being passed to advertisers and other websites.