Part 3 – Social Media


The utilization of mobile Internet devices, thanks to new application environments and mobile Internet browser technologies, has opened the door for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) to change peoples lives. This combination serves the personal and professional needs on devices that are rarely three feet from their owners, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

One single phenomenon that has changed the way people communicate and connect has been the advent of social media. Services like Facebook, linkedin, and Twitter have revolutionized the way people connect, communicate, express themselves, and consume content and information.

Social media is the digital equivalent of how people previously interacted face to face, through email, text message, or heaven forbid an actual phone call. Interestingly enough, Facebook and the Internet phone service Skype, owned by Microsoft, are in partnership to integrate their services (5). Facebook alone has over a 1.3 billion people utilizing its services.(6) However, the unintended consequence of social media has been the amount of personal identifiable information (PII) that people have so willingly shared about themselves. From pictures, favorite restaurants, movies, music, hobbies, you name it, people have exposed themselves, all voluntarily. Additionally, people are expressing their every move and holding public conversations on message boards about all facets of their personal and periodically their professional lives.  This information is also not owned by the user.

Social media has become the equivalent hanging out at the local pub; except there are over 1.3 billion other people sharing stools at the same counter and they can ‘hear’ almost every word. If they missed it the first time, Facebook has made it easy for viewers to go back into an individuals social profile history and see what people have shared publicly. People are practicing their first amendment rights of freedom to express and freedom of speech, however they are also leaving a quantitatively large and qualitatively useful pool of information about who they are and what they do every day of the week. All this personal information about habits, desires, friends, political opinions, personal grievances, deaths in the family, are all being monitored and tracked by someone or something. Facebook is not the only company in the data mining and aggregation business.

With the advancements in smart phone technology and social media software services, people are exercising their first amendment rights every hour in a forum and method where the protection of those rights are not the same as they are in their physical person. The combination of smart phone technology and social media Internet services has created the equivalent of a digital twin for everyone. The difference is that our fourth amendment rights are not comparable to that of our twin. This is thanks to the capacity expansion of the USA Patriot Act, which granted government agencies the ability to shape how the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment is being interpreted. I will address the USA Patriot Act further on in this paper, but lets now discuss in my next post what digital threats we face.

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