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Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Issues of online privacy on Social

Networking Sites and its

Submitted By


ID# 1310128630


SEC: 13


Submitted for

Mr. Shahidul Islam Khan

Lecturer, Department of English

North South University

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014


Successful completion of any course requires support from various personnel and I am

fortunate to have that support, direction, and supervision in every aspect from Mr. Shahidul

Islam Khan, Course Instructor, Department of English, North South University.

I would like to thank North south university, Department of English for adding this Research

work in our course which helped us a lot understanding the topic in practical life and how it

works in real life. I also show my utmost gratitude to all the Respondent those are filled up

questioners that help me to do this research and got some knowledge about them. The speed

and helpfulness of the Respondent really helped me in obtaining the necessary information in


This research entitled ― Issues of online privacy on social networking sites and the attitude

of people towards it’s awareness. has been done during the spring semester of academic

year-2014 under the guidance of Mr. Shahidul Islam Khan, Course Instructor (Eng-

105.13), Department of English, North South University.

I would also like to show my utmost gratitude to my family members. They deserve a bow

cause throughout the research paper I informed them every work detail and they continuously

asked for latest update regarding my research paper.

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Table of Contents

Serial Content Pages

1 Introduction 4-6
2 Literature Review 7-12
3 Research Questions 13
4 Hypothesis 13-14
5 Research Methodology 14
6 Data Presentation 15-25
7 Findings 25-26
8 Conclusion 27
9 Reference 27-28

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014


One of the most difficult issues in any discussion of privacy is the concept itself. While

privacy is often recognized as a universal human right, what is considered to be “private”

varies from person to person, society to society, culture to culture, and time to time. Social

scientists tend to treat privacy as a social and psychological human need. They focus on how

individuals define and manage private space so as to maintain appropriate distance from one

another across occasions and social space. There is a private sphere of human life that should

be free from interferences and intrusions from the public. And social networking is the

grouping of individuals into specific groups like in person, workplace, universities mostly

popular in online. When it comes to online social networking, websites are commonly used.

These websites are known as social sites. Social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter,

Yahoo, Ask.fm etc.

Even before the various networks supporting online communication converged as Internet,

tensions existed between users’ desires to communicate online in very personal ways and

their assumptions that their disclosures would or should be treated as privileged and private.

With every click, we entrust our conversations, e-mails, photo, location information and

much more to companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter etc. Online privacy involves

the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to

third-parties and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Privacy can

entail either Personally Identifying Information (PII) or non-PII information such as a site

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

visitor's behavior on a website.

The focus of my research will be on how far the people are aware of the fact of complete lack

of privacy online and how they behave or how they show their traits towards Online Privacy.

Bangladesh is country where there are so many people with different perceptions and

educational background as well as their level of wisdom also varies. Due to technological

advancement Internet or use of the social sites, mail, chat rooms have become the part and

parcel of daily life. I would like to figure out whether people of our country are well aware of

the particular fact about "Lacking Privacy Online" when they share special moments in

online or not. I want to dig the hole of how people react and how they show their attitude

towards it. I am hoping to find answers to such questions through my research work.

Not only is privacy crucial to how you interact with your readers and your loved ones online,

it‘s also an important part of your digital footprint. With the way that the laws are now, what

you say today could be used against you at some point in the future. That, in and of itself,

should scare you. As authors, we may be writers — but we are not machines nor are we

psychics. We make mistakes and, over time, our opinions might change. Right now, the

Internet isn‘t prepared to handle those nuances because published content, in many cases,

could be permanent.

The Internet landscape may be changing rapidly, but the law is not blind. Once the courts

start to catch up, the wild, Wild West days of ―free‖ sites like the social media platforms we

all enjoy may be over. The question is: are you ready for it? If not, I suggest that you take the
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
time to research where you are putting your stories and thoughts online. Then, you will come

to your own conclusions about the tools you are using and how valuable your privacy is to


Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Literature Review

When I first entertained this research topic I made a glaring oversight. I initially assumed my

working definition of privacy was universal. In subsequent research into Corporate

Colonization I found, through feedback, that where I saw privacy concerns others saw

something different. McCullagh (2008) states, ―Privacy encompasses a variety of different

issues and is important for a number of reasons. Therefore, a single definition that adequately

incorporates all the subtle differences that privacy evokes has so far proven impossible‖ (p.4).

Much of the research found that deals with privacy on the Internet is prefaced on a common

understanding of privacy. Surveys used in these studies ask questions about how people feel

about privacy issues but many of these same studies do not define a baseline for what privacy

is. This is a problem. To help us avoid this in this paper, I will use a comprehensive and

useful framework offered by DeCew (1997) based on a cluster concept of privacy.

DeCew (1997) argues that privacy is, ―a broad and multifaceted cluster concept‖, which

encapsulates ―our ability to control information about ourselves, our ability to govern access

to ourselves, and our ability to make self-expressive autonomous decisions free from

intrusion or control by others‖ (pp.61-62). DeCew (1997) envisages privacy as a, ―complex

of three related clusters of claims concerning information about oneself, physical access to

oneself, and decision making and activity that provide one with the independence needed to

carve out one‘s self-identity through self-expression and interpersonal relationships‖ (p.78).

The cluster includes three aspects of privacy: (1) informational privacy; (2) accessibility

privacy; and (3) expressive privacy (DeCew, 1997, pp. 75-76). I will use this concept and
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
these aspects of privacy as a basis for the presented areas of concern regarding privacy on the


As was noted earlier, there are so very many avenues of risk that we cannot completely cover

them and all their variants. In this section we will focus on three interrelated areas of concern;

data mining, Google, and behavioral advertising. Data collection and data mining happen

continuously focusing on the Internet user. We are notified regularly of site and portal

privacy terms and conditions, however, ―Online privacy statements are often placed

inconveniently at the bottom of the page and are often tedious, complex, and replete with

legal language the average web user finds difficult to comprehend‖ (Fernback & Papacharissi,

n.d., p. 3). Additionally, we find, ―many of the security statements of e-tailers sound

reassuring, but offer very little protection to the individual consumer‖ (Fernback &

Papacharissi, n.d., p. 3). Often these statements are meant to legally protect the company and

not the user (Fernback & Papacharissi, n.d., p. 3). With their legal bases covered these online

institutions create digital profiles of their users and use profile information in conjunction

with other usage data for data harvesting (Spring, 2010, p. 11).

One survey showed nearly two-thirds (64.9%) of users indicated that they were "very" or

"somewhat" worried about their personal privacy and more than 7 in 10 (71.4%) agree

"strongly" or "somewhat" that people have lost all control over how personal information

about them is used (Kachhi & Link, 2009, p. 77). Yet given this level of concern they

continue to provide the inadvertent information cited. We will see in future sections how

much information we continue to provide voluntarily.

Google is a juggernaut in the information space and on the Internet. Google combines

common practices that other search and email providers use with their own technologies. Due
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

to their ubiquity they warrant their own discussion. As of 2008, Google is estimated to

account for nearly 60% of all Internet search queries in the United States—over six billion

each month (more than double the next largest search engine). They are estimated to have

received 76% of search revenue collected by the top three search engines. Yahoo, its top

competitor, received just over 18% (Tene, 2008, p.1434). We will ignore some of the recent

news items about Google, such as those regarding location tracking. Even still, there is an

unbelievable amount of data tracking that a company like Google does that falls into the

category of involuntary. Tene (2008) wrote:

Google‘s access to and storage of vast amounts of personal information create a serious

privacy problem, one that Princeton computer scientist Edward Felten recently called―

“perhaps the most difficult privacy [problem] in all of human history”. Every day, millions of

users provide Google with unfettered access to their interests, needs, desires, fears, pleasures,

and intentions. Many users do not realize that this information is logged and maintained in a

form which can facilitate their identification.

Like Google is to online searches, Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla of the social networking

world. There are over 500 million Facebook users. There is much discussion regarding

Facebook‘s privacy settings and practices, but we will focus on how users cause their own

privacy issues. Based on surveys, we find that of users under 30, 76.3% of profiles were

visible friends only (Taraszow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris, & Arsoy, 2010, p. 89). And

64.1% provide their email address, 54.2% provide their hometown, and 99.2% provide their

full birthday in their Facebook profiles (Taraszow, Aristodemou, Shitta, Laouris, & Arsoy,

2010, p. 91). Users do this because they enjoy the Facebook experience. Debatin, Lovejoy,

Horn, and Hughes (2009) state, -“It can therefore be assumed that the expected gratification
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
motivates the users to provide and frequently update very specific personal data that most of

them would immediately refuse to reveal in other contexts, such as a telephone survey (p.

88). Considering the vast amount of data mining already being done it is easy to see how any

access to the information provided on Facebook be of significant malicious use. Debatin,

Lovejoy, Horn, and Hughes (2009) highlight this aspect: The IT security firm Sophos set up a

fake profile to determine how easy it would be to data-mine Facebook for the purpose of

identity theft. They found that out of 200 contacted people, 41% revealed personal

information by either responding to the contact (and thus making their profile temporarily

accessible) or immediately befriending the fake persona. The divulged information was

enough ‘to create phishing emails or malware specifically targeted at individual users or

business, to guess users passwords, impersonate them, or even stalk them.’ (p. 87)

As can be seen, of all of the privacy concerns people have regarding Facebook, the most

significant one they should be aware of is their own disclosure of information. Figure 1 (Debatin,

Lovejoy, Horn, & Hughes, 2009, p. 88) best summarizes the Facebook privacy paradigm:

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
The number of Internet subscriptions in Bangladesh grew from 186,000 in 2000 to 617,300 in

2009 (^ "Internet users", World Bank, accessed 27 September 2011). However, only 0.4% of

the population used the Internet in 2009 giving Bangladesh one of the lowest usage

percentages in the world, ahead of only North Korea, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone ("Internet

users (per 100 people)", The World Bank). In April 2010, Akhtaruzzaman Manju, president

of Internet Service Providers' Association of Bangladesh, said "we've estimated that nearly 10

million people in the country are using 800,000 Internet connections on sharing basis",

adding the number of Internet users in the country is increasing roughly 15-16 percent a year.

The Bangla blogging platform Sachalayatan was reported to be inaccessible on 15 July 2008,

and was forced to migrate to a new IP address. Although the blocking was not officially

confirmed, Sachalayatan was likely Bangladesh‘s inaugural filtering event. YouTube was

blocked for a few days in March 2009 in order to protect the ―national interest‖. The

disputed video covered a partial audio recording of a meeting between the prime minister and

military officials, who were angry at the government‘s handling of a mutiny by border guards

in Dhaka that left more than seventy people dead ("ONI Regional Overview: Asia", OpenNet

Initiative, June 2009). Facebook was blocked by the Bangladesh Telecommunication

Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for 7 days starting on 29 May 2010 because of "obnoxious

images", including depictions of Mohammed and several of the country's political officials as

well as links to pornographic sites. The block was lifted after Facebook agreed to remove the

offensive content.

Although the right to freedom of expression can be restricted, the circumstances under which

this may be done have to be narrowly defined. It is necessary that national mechanisms give a

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

clear indication of the extent to which regulation of the Internet is compatible with the

international legal guarantee regarding freedom of expression.

Research Question

In my research I want to investigate the awareness of people about complete lack of privacy

online and their reaction towards this thing. For conducting my research, I have designed

some questions that will generate my desired answers.

*What is online privacy?

*What is social networking media?

*How privacy works in the social networking sites?

*How well are people aware of the attack of privacy online?

*What are the reasons behind unawareness of people regarding lack of online privacy ?

*How do the lack of privacy can impact on person’s social life?

*What are the opinions about the lacking of online privacy and information leaking?

*How do they cope up knowing lack of privacy online?


Today, private companies are tracking as many of our movements as they can online, selling

that information to other companies who in turn share it with law enforcement and the

government. I expect to find out that people are aware of the fact that information which they
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
share with their near and dear ones in social sites everything is getting recorded for the

further usage. I think I will get a mixed response from different kinds of people as their level

of thinking is not same. I also think that people who are sensitive and have very strong

personalities don't share too much information in online and don't use abusive words and so


Research Methodology

For my primary research, I have followed qualitative and quantitative research method by

conducting a survey of representative sampling of the different groups (age, sex, location,

education etc.) people and interviewed those who constantly use online, e-mail, social sites

and so on. To that end I designed a questionnaire with different types of questions so as to get

a range of useful data that has helped me to answer my research questions.

For my secondary research, I used resources of the articles from websites and consulted few

books and personal experiences of people. I browsed the Internet and used standard search

engines like Google & Yahoo.

 http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/the-state-of-internet-privacy-in-2013-


Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Data Presentation

1. Demographic Characteristics:

1.1 Gender

Respondents Number %
Total Number of Respondents 47 -
Number of Male respondents 25 47%
Number of Female respondents 22 53%

Table 1: Percentage of Male and Female Respondents

1.2 Age

Age Range (years) Percentage Number

17-20 30% 14
21-25 70% 33 Table 2:

26 and above 0% 0

Percentage of the respondents

2. Data Analysis

After the demographic information collected through the survey questionnaires, I have

interviewed every respondent using 15 questions. Each of the questions represents different

answer to the research questions. There were no open-ended questions. Every question has

4/5 options to answer.

2.1 The first question that was asked to the respondents is “ How long have u been using the

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
Internet?’’ Answer of the following question is scrutinized below:

Less than 6 months 1 2%

6 months- 1 years 1 2%
1-2 years 2 4%
2+ years 48 92%

Table 4: How long have you used the Internet?

2% 6%

Less than 6 months

1-2 years
2+ years


 Figure 1: How long have you used the Internet?

2.2 How much time do you spend on Internet from your home per day?

Less than 30 minutes 12 25%

More than 2 hours 21 45%

More than 5 hours 14 30%
More than 10 hours 0 0%

Table 5: How much time do you spend on Internet from your home per day?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

2.3 How much time do you spend time on Internet from your workplace per day?

That was my 3rd question in the survey questionnaire. Spending time on the Internet from

work is not that much high. People use it for 1-5 hours most of the cases.

2.4 For what purpose do you use Internet most?

Here the question was that the answer you can select is multiple because people are using

Internet for various purposes. Like for social networking sites, emails, etc. So, one person has

selected more than 2 answers. And they have many reasons for it. They do many works at the

same time.
Social Networking 35
Entertainment 25
Work related 16
News 7
Others 1

Table 6: For what purpose do you use Internet most?

2.5 Which social networking site do you use?

This question also says that the answer can be multiple because there are many social

networking sites. People are using Facebook, My Space, Instagram etc. So the numbers are


Facebook 45
Twitter 4
Google+ 15
Other 3
I don’t use any 0

Table 7: which social networking site do you use?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

2.6 Why do they use these sites?

For fun 2
To stay connected with friends 5
Making contacts 13
Others 26

Table 8: Why do they use these sites?



For fun
To stay connected with friends
Making contacts


Figure 2: Why do people use these sites?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

2.7 How secure do you feel about sharing your personal information on social

networking sites?





20% 15%


Secure Not as secure I Not Secure Don’t know
would like

Figure 3: How secure do you feel about sharing?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

2.8 When you share your personal moments or photos on social networking site, are you




30% 27%

20% 18%



Not at all A little Somewhat Ver concerned

Figure 4: Are you concerned about sharing your moments and photos?

2.9 Do you use any third party devices?

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20 Yes

27 No

Figure 5: Do you use any third party devices?

2.10 If yes, are you aware and concerned about the security of these?

So, there are 27 people who r using the third party devices.

Yes 22
No 3
I don’t know much about these 2

2.11 In general, which is more important to you Privacy or Convenience?

Convenience 12 26%
Privacy 35 74%

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014




Figure 6: Which is more important Privacy or Convenience?

2.12 How concerned are you about your privacy on Internet? (Email, Privacy, Browsing

privacy etc.)


Not at all
A little


Very Concerned

I should be but im n't


Figure 7: How concerned are you about your privacy?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

2.13 Have you ever become a victim of hacking?




30% 56%



Yes No

Figure 8: Have you ever become a victim of hacking?

2.14 If your answer is yes then mention what did you do that time?

Solved it out yourself 5 18%

Called a friend 10 36%

Took legal steps 3 11%

Didn’t bother 4 14%

Other 6 21%

Table 10: If your answer is yes then mention what you did that time?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

Solved it out by yourself

21% 18%

Called a friend

Took legal steps

14% Didn’t bother


Figure 9: If your answer is yes then mention what you did that time?

2.15 What do you think is the reason behind the unawareness of people regarding

online privacy?

Lack of seriousness 13 28%

Unawareness of the consequences 9 19%

Most people don’t know the process 7 15%

All of the above 18 38%

Other 0 0%

Table 11: What do you think is the reason behind the unawareness of people regarding

online privacy?

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014


Lack of seriousness
Unawareness of the consequences

Most people don’t know the


All of the above




Figure 10: What do you think is the reason behind the unawareness of people regarding

online privacy?


The findings of this research show that Different professionals and different ages of people

use Internet for different reasons. People knowingly and unknowingly using it for their

personal usage, official usages etc. Lack of privacy online is a pretty big concern for most of

the people and on the contrary it‘s not at all a big issue for few people too. Mixed Responses

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014
and mixed perceptions are the ultimate findings of this research paper. Out of 47 students

questionnaires used, there were 22 female students and 25 male students. All of them belong

to the age group 16-25 years.

*100% of the students are regular on social networking sites.

*Maximum people are using the Internet for more than 2 years and it is 92% and the least are

using it for less than 6 months and it is 2%.

*From home about 25% people are using Internet from home and 45% are using more than 2


*55% people don’t use Internet from their work place for personal browsing and the least

people who are using is 41% for 1-2 hours.

*Maximum people are using Internet for social networking, entertainment, work related,

news etc.

*The social networking sites which are they mainly using are Facebook, Twitter, Google+


*About 11% of the students feel secured on online and 51% does not feel secure.

*About 30% people are little concerned and 38% are very concerned about sharing their

personal moments and pictures.

*27% people are using Internet from third party devices and 22% are only concerned about it.

*74% are concerned about their privacy and 26% are concerned about convenience.

*Comparing about the privacy issues moderate (36%) people are concerned and 21% are very


*Around 56% are the victims of hacking and 44% aren’t.

*The people who’s account was hacked called their friends mainly which is 36%, 18%
Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014

people solved it out by themselves, 11% people took legal steps.

*28% people think lack of seriousness is the reason of unawareness where 15% people don’t

know the process and 19% people are unaware of the consequences.


There are many more Internet privacy issues than were covered here. In considering Internet

privacy in a corporate managed and colonized sphere it is always important to define privacy

for you. I used the framework defined by DeCew (1997) which speaks of privacy in three


(1) Informational privacy – control over one’s information.

(2) Accessibility privacy – control over physical access to information.

(3) Expressive privacy – control over how to choose, interact and act.

From the research presented we find that informational and accessibility privacies are of

primary concern. Data on users is collected and correlated from multiple locations providing

an almost eerie profile of the individual. It also is evident that based on how users choose to

wield their expressive privacy will have a major impact on their informational privacy. Being

aware of Internet privacy concerns is the best way to make informed decisions and to protect



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University Press.

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Communications Technology Law, 17(1), 3-23. doi:10.1080/13600830801886984

3. Fernback, J., & Papacharissi, Z. (n.d.). Online privacy as legal safeguard: the

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deep? Journal of Advertising Research, 49(1), 74-81. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

5. Tene, O. (2008). What Google knows: Privacy and internet search engines. Utah Law

Review, 2008(4), 1433-1492. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

6. Taraszow, T., Aristodemou, E., Shitta, G., Laouris, Y., & Arsoy, A. (2010). Disclosure

of personal and contact information by young people in social networking sites: An

analysis using Facebook™ profiles as an example. International Journal of Media &

Cultural Politics, 6(1), 81-101. doi:10.1386/macp.6.1.81/1.

7. Debatin, B., Lovejoy, J. P., Horn, A., & Hughes, B. N. (2009). Facebook and Online

privacy: Attitudes, behaviors, and unintended consequences. Journal of Computer-

Mediated Communication, 18(1), 83-108. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01494.x.

Awareness of Online Privacy in Social Networks 2014