I have posted many things about Social Networks, especially around how to use the properly and protect yourself from your data being used in ways you did not intend. Well the world just got a little more interesting in the past few days. You see, before there was always a gray line on what can and cannot be used for or against your in a background check. Social Networks were never really allowed nor were they really not allowed from being used in a job search, college admission, or any other background check. So your racist rant, photos of you in the nude, puking your guts out drunk were not really a problem. Until now.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission or FTC, has come out an said that Facebook can be used in a background check. That means that anything you post and do not have protected from the public eye is free game. There is already a company that scours Facebook and stores this information for up to 7 years.
As a user of social networks, Facebook, Twitter and the rest, I am OK with this. I assumed that this was already being done in the first place. My reason is very, very simple. IT’S ON THE INTERNET! If you post yourself trying to do a fireball and light yourself on fire (see pic), then you are a willing and able participant to it’s release to the public realm. Period. If you rant about your boss by name, your former employer, make racist jokes, and show you are a complete moron, then companies have the full right not to hire you. When you are getting hired, your skills are 75% of it. You could be the best at what you do, but if you come across as a complete insensitive moron, don’t complain when no one wants to work with you.
Social Networks are all about socializing. If you have 900 friends on Facebook, can you really trust everyone of them? Do you know who those 900 are connected to? Do you know how to lock down your activity so only the intimate people you want to see it does? Or better yet, don’t publicly post things that will incriminate or discredit you later. Especially when companies now have the Government’s OK to use that against you.
The Internet is forever. I am still coming across posts I did in the old Usenet from 1994. It’s there forever and ever, even if you delete it, it’s not deleted. Even from Facebook it may take them upto a year to delete photos off their servers that you deleted off your profile yesterday. Assume nothing. Trust that the systems you are using are not to be trusted. Always think to yourself, is this something I would be OK if the CEO of my company or a company I want to work for would see? If the answer is no, then maybe hold off or share it in a less public forum.
This is why I will continue to push for the personal control and accountability of these social network systems. Because at the the end of the day there will be no one else to blame but yourself for exposure you get.
End of Line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.