Protect yourself

Protect yourselfUnderstand your social media rights and responsibilities.

Griffith University, social media and you

One of the tricky aspects of social media is the increasing blurriness between personal and professional boundaries.

You may become Facebook ‘friends’ with a student working with you on a group assignment - even though they might not be your friend at all.

Because of these blurred boundaries, it’s often confusing to know what role Griffith University has to play in your online life.

Most of the time, the university does not take any interest in what you do online. There are some instances, however, where Griffith does take an interest in what’s happening.

These include:

  • When a Griffith University student or staff member is involved in harassment, bullying or discrimination
  • When a university policy is violated (e.g. If threats are made towards students and staff)
  • When university resources are involved (e.g. If you use a university computer to conduct illegal or inappropriate activity)
  • When the Griffith University logo is used without permission.

Managing security online

Having different passwords for different sites is one way to keep your personal and financial information safe online.

But there are so many sites that require you to login with a password. How do you keep track of all them? Well, one easy way to remember all your passwords is to create a master password.

The master password should be a combination of letters and numbers e.g. mpie2r (my password is easy to remember).

You then modify the master password for each site. So, your password for Pinterest might be mpie2rpin while your password for Tumblr might be mpie2rtum.

Having a strong password is another way to keep your information secure. You may choose an obvious password like 'password' or ‘123456’ because it’s easier to remember and you don't think you'll be hacked.

But it could happen. Spend a few extra minutes creating a secure password that will deter hackers. The safety of your personal and financial information is well worth the effort.

Another way to maintain your security online is to avoid opening spam and clicking on random links. Some spam is incredibly well disguised but chances are:

  • You haven’t won $1000000 in a lottery fund
  • That Nigerian prince who wants your bank details is not a prince
  • Your bank won’t request your password or account details online

Managing privacy online

Would you get changed in the middle of Queen Street Mall, use a toilet installed in your lecture theatre or give out your private phone number to a random passer-by? Why not? The answer is privacy.

You may not think of online privacy in the same way as privacy in the real world but it’s just as important. Disclosing information in an online thread or conversation may seem harmless but that information is available to more than just your chosen friends.

Applying strict privacy settings on sites such as Facebook is better than having a completely public profile. But it doesn’t mean that sensitive information you may want to keep private will stay private.

Regardless of the settings you impose, anyone with access to the information can take a screenshot and share private information with the world.

Data mining and data tracking is another aspect of online privacy worth thinking about. Ever seen advertisements for items you’ve been browsing on other sites? This happens because websites use data tracking and cookies to target advertising to consumers.

Social media and the law

In 2012, a young man posted a series of defamatory tweets about a former teacher. A lawsuit was filed and the teacher was awarded more than $100 000 in damages.

This case highlights how something seemingly private and shared with friends can have much bigger consequences.

Even though social media and its relationship to the law is still a grey area, there are an increasing number of cases involving social media. These cases often involve the use of social media to commit crimes usually associated with the offline world.

People often think they will get away with making a nasty comment or posting an inappropriate photo online. This is especially true of social networks that claim users are anonymous.

In reality, if a case is serious enough, the Australian Federal Police have the power to request data and IP addresses – the anonymity only extends so far.

Everything that happens online is recorded, even if it’s been deleted.