Future of Privacy

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How We’re Losing Our Privacy Online

How We’re Losing Our Privacy Online
Christian Science Monitor
By Gregory Lamb
August 31, 2009

Gail Heyman didn’t go on Facebook often. In March Mrs. Heyman, who lives in the Atlanta area, opened an account just to keep up with a few friends. She found herself rarely checking the social-networking site, letting days or even weeks slip by between visits.

But in late June, she received a phone call from a cousin. He had responded to what he thought was her emergency plea for money on Facebook and wired her $2,000 – in London. As he thought about it more, he decided to call her just to double-check.

Heyman, who was still in Georgia, was astounded. Someone had figured out her password, taken over her account, and posted the fraudulent request. “They told my [Facebook] friends that I had been mugged, and that I was in a hotel and that I needed money,” she says.

Her cousin was able to quickly contact Western Union and cancel the transfer before the money was picked up by the imposter in London. Heyman, still a little shaken, hasn’t reopened her Facebook account but hopes to get back online in the future. “It’s made me think differently about doing things online,” she says.

Jules Polonetsky quoted:

“Let’s make it easier for folks to act in the way they want to act,” says Jules Polonetsky, co-chairman and director of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank underwritten by companies such as AT&T, AOL, Intel, eBay, and Facebook. “Yes, I can make a silly joke to my friend. It can be easily watched by my friends, but I can easily make it go away if I need to.”

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Posted by on September 3, 2009.

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About Future of Privacy

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups.more →