A newly released poll suggests Canadians overwhelmingly believe their private information is more at risk today than it was a decade ago and that the federal government and corporations don't take the issue very seriously.
The poll commissioned by the office of the federal privacy commissioner found about 70 per cent of Canadians believed there's less privacy protection today than there was 10 years ago.
A similar number believed protecting personal information will be one of the most important issues in the next decade.
Many acknowledged they have a role to play in better protecting their privacy. While 66 per cent said they were very concerned about privacy rights, almost half admitted their knowledge of privacy rights was poor or very poor.
When asked if they knew enough about how new technologies might affect their privacy, 40 per cent weren't confident.
Very few felt personal information was being safeguarded as much as it could be. Only 21 per cent of those polled felt the federal government took its responsibility to protect private information seriously, about 64 per cent responded "somewhat seriously," and 12 per cent chose "not seriously."
For businesses, 13 per cent of respondents said corporations take the issue seriously, 68 per cent chose "somewhat seriously," and 18 per cent replied "not seriously."
Nearly everyone surveyed, 97 per cent of the 1,513 Canadians polled, said they'd want to be notified if their personal information was compromised.
Few reported being victimized by their personal information being online. Only 12 per cent said something they posted online negatively impacted their life.
The results of the telephone survey conducted between Oct. 25 to Nov. 12 are considered to be accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
We Tell Everyone Where We Are
Some platforms, like FourSquare, were designed to show the world our locations. Others, like <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/instagram">photo-sharing app Instagram</a>, make it too easy for us to inadvertently give ourselves away. In fact, we're so accustomed to snapping "artsy" pics of puppies and salads that it's possible we're unintentionally sharing our whereabouts, particularly if the photos aren't categorized as "private." So if you call out of work sick, make sure you don't accidentally post a picture of yourself relaxing at the local beach. Or, if you're feeling paranoid and want to minimize unwanted attention, go to your Instagram "Options" page and select the "Photos Are Private" button.
We Don't Respond When We're Being Watched
For many years, we were able to read Facebook messages at our leisure -- and then promptly ignore them. But the social network <a href="http://newsroom.fb.com/News/434/A-New-Look-for-Facebook-Messages">rolled out a new feature</a> that lets users see when a recipient has read a chat or message they've sent. So if you want to avoid the awkward realization you've ignored someone, type a message back, don't open the message to begin with, or use this <a href="http://crossrider.com/install/14917-chat-undetected">Chat Undected extension</a> to regain your excuse for not responding.
We Stalk In Plain Sight
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/okcupid">OkCupid</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/linkedin">LinkedIn</a> are used for notably different purposes, but these social networking sites share a potentially embarrassing feature. Both platforms show who has viewed your profile. When you're checking out someone else's profile they can see you, too, which makes cyberstalking a not-so-anonymous act. In order to privately dig into another person's information, both websites offer premium memberships that'll cost you a few extra bucks a month but will let you check out as many profiles as you want on the sly. Creepy? Nah...
We Tell The World We Love Sideboob News
On a given day, we might read a few news articles online, "Like" a slew of photos on Instagram or listen to a couple of tunes via Spotify. Thanks to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/facebook-frictionless-apps_n_1213970.html">Facebook's Timeline apps</a>, all these activities can be posted to your Facebook profile without the use of a manual "share" button. That's right, all your co-workers know that you've been reading stories about celebrity sideboob sightings. Every app has different preferences, so be sure to read the details of what you're allowing Facebook to publish.
We Live-Tweet Our Commutes
Sometimes we want people to know where we are. And sometimes we forget to turn off Twitter's geo-location feature, which publishes the location where we're tweeting. Too many times we've left a digital footprint mapping out our route to work, along with our favorite coffee shops and our favorite after-work watering holes. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/07/what-not-to-post-on-twitter_n_829903.html#s245051&title=Confessionals_Office_Gossip">Be wary of oversharing</a>. A simple Google search for your name will probably call up your Twitter handle. If you want to limit who can see your profile, go to Twitter's "Settings" page and check the "Protect my Tweets" box, or turn the location feature off (seen in the image to the left).
We Turn Ourselves Into Walking Advertisements
Occasionally, companies will offer customers rewards for "Liking" their brand on Facebook. You might be a sucker for incentives, but don't forget that once you "Like" an <a href="https://www.facebook.com/FacebookPages">organization's Page</a>, you'll receive corporate updates that have the potential to litter your News Feed. Your "Likes" might also show up in your friends' News Feeds. So "Like" accordingly!
We Neglect Our 'Other' Inboxes
When was the last time you checked your <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/188872764494245/">"Other" Messages</a> on Facebook? This hidden folder displayed in the top left corner of the Messages screen holds posts from people you're not connected with on Facebook. But who remembers to look there? Not us. The same rings true for Direct Messages on Twitter, or InMail on LinkedIn. While these modes of communication can be awesome resources, sometimes we forget they exist.