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I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did

Photo: Law professor Lori Andrew ( has written a book about Internet privacy. According to Andrews, privacy pioneer and author of the book, "I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy," the same power of information sharing that can topple governments can also topple a person's career, marriage, finances, or even his or her future.

70% of users don't know that Google scans your gmail and sells the information. If you send an email to your friend, for instance, and say you're impotent, have cancer, or want to lose weight, you'll start receiving ads based on your confidential messages. By posting something on Facebook that you're in a certain bar, attending a game or on vacation, you're telling robbers to come steal you blind. The average robbery takes only 10 minutes so beware! Most of us should know or realize by now that anything we put out there can come back to bite us. Facebook has made it clear that they want to use your "likes" to turn you into an endorsement for products that you may not even know about. One guy saw his wife's picture on a dating ad appearing in his email. Fortunate for him, he knew that she had not endorsed this use--her picture was lifted from her Facebook account.

Judges, juries, attorneys, insurers and potential employers are all guilty--they use your Facebook and social network account information. Jurors determine if you're the kind of person who could be guilty of drunk driving by looking to see if you post pictures of drinking; a person may think twice about hiring someone who could be a liability to their firm because of your sexual activities and wild partying; and insureres may see you as a risk because you like organizations such as the heart association and cancer society on your Facebook page.

How do you get rid of lies, untruths and stuff that's offensive or hurts you? Unfortunately, even if you aren't active on social networks you may become victim to their abuses, according to Andrews. One of the worst instances was a high school student who was beheaded in a car accident. The police emailed photos of her severed head which made their way onto students' facebook accounts. In acts of cruelty, the parents of the young girl continue to receive pictures from prangsters. Andrews says that although there are companies out there that claim they can remove negative information about you from the Internet social networks for a fee, there's no failproof way to do so.

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