Published on June 6th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


Today’s Youth Are Facing Privacy Issues Like Never Before Says Canada’s Privacy Commissioner

I have been using computers a long time as well as being online since the days of bulletin board services were all the rage and back then it was very uncommon for people to freely share personal information the way that is so prevalent online today. Even now I still think long and hard before sharing any personal information on social network  but this caution isn’t something that young people think much about these days.

It is this vapid sharing that has caused Canada’s Privacy Commissioner to issue a warning, and publish a short graphic novel on the subject, saying that young people today are facing the type of privacy risks that the older computer using generation never faced. In her annual report to Parliament Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart stated:

Teenagers are growing up in a very different world than I did.

Today’s youth have an unprecedented ability to communicate. This first wave of what some have called the “Facebook generation” has latched onto the online world to stay in touch with friends – sharing new YouTube videos and the latest hit songs, making plans to hang out, and talking about what’s happening in their lives.

I did many of the same things with my school friends – except that I did all this in person or over the phone shared with other family members.

The big difference about what I used to do and now is that there is no record of what my friends and I gossiped about back then. That was also the case for my own children – who are still only in their 20s.

But that’s clearly not the case for anyone who is now a teenager.

All of that online communication creates a permanent record – and that could carry risks to their privacy and to their reputations. Not just today, but perhaps even more in the future.

Teenagers are expected to make mistakes – it’s a natural part of growing up.

The fact that electronic records of many of the mistakes of today’s youth will persist for decades to come is cause for deep concern.

It still amazes me just how free young people are with their data when it comes to using social networks and for a lot of them is going to be something that will come back to bit them hard on the butt.



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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