With the growth of online social networks, electronic data, and increasing broadband adoption across the globe, there has been a parallel increase in the risk of your personal information being exposed to whoever wants to take a look.
The websites you visit, what you buy online, the communities and discussions you contribute to — all of these pieces of information are part of the ever-growing mountain of data that advertisers and corporations are dying to get their hands on.
Recently, Facebook has come under a lot of criticism for its feature called “Beacon” that tracks what you buy online outside of Facebook, and then tells your friends about it. Now, I do understand the concept Facebook is trying to accomplish — if I like a product enough to pay for it, then that’s the ultimate recommendation. Adding Radiohead as a “friend” on my profile is one thing, but shelling out $80 for a box set of their latest music speaks volumes.
The catch here is that we don’t like the feeling of being watched. If I want to tell my friends about the products and services that I like, I want to do it in my own way. Not have an automated feed of my buying habits revealed to my family and co-workers on a daily basis.
Privacy is important to everyone. Feeling safe when you are online and feeling like your personal information is secure is crucial for anyone to engage in online social networks.
We found this to be the primary concern for the neighborhoods that we began to set up over three years ago. Privacy was number one. Residents of a community wanted to be sure that their information was secure. It’s one thing to create a profile on MySpace or Facebook where the majority of your interaction is virtual, but users of eNeighbors interact with the people that literally live right across the street.
That’s why we take privacy and security very seriously at eNeighbors. You can be sure that we don’t expose your information to anyone, and you are in complete control of how you choose to participate online. Our ability to grow and promote local community revolves directly around the level of trust the members of that community have with us. We want people to open up and interact with their neighbors. In the end, everyone wins if we all feel safe — especially in our own homes.