Public Knowledge?

EDLD 5316 Week 2 Journal Entry

This week’s topics of net neutrality and digital footprints seem like two subjects that would be easy to talk about but I have no idea where to start. I have noticed my digital footprint showing up more in the last few years. I always noticed it on websites that advertisements would show up with the subject being searches I had previously performed. I now notice that when I play a game app on my phone the advertisements that show up are recent searches I have performed. I always had an idea that everything was connected but it hit me when I saw it in a game on my phone. If net neutrality is enforced then the tracking couldn’t be used against you, but it your ISP’s can track your digital foot print, limit bandwidth, or charge you more for certain services then your digital footprint becomes a liability.

I thought how many 14-17 year old’s have thought about their digital footprint. The answer, probably not much.  The whole social media thing didn’t come along until I was a little older so my footprint is not that big or bad, but when you think about the 16 year old girl or boy that has posted more in a week than I have in my whole life and how is it going to look when they are 23 and graduating college trying to get a job.

I have mixed feelings about employers looking at my history. I understand if I post pictures of myself doing drugs or something illegal and someone not hiring me, but what if I have a different political opinion? What if I voted for the other guy and the employers doesn’t hire me because of that? That is illegal. I think that employers and anyone else that tracks online media about someone i.e. college students or athletes should be very cautious about using that as a guideline on whether to select them for a team, college, or job.

I did a little internet search and found that there have been many court cases about the privacy of individuals and their social media accounts. They argue the fact that they are being discriminated against because of something the posted or liked online. The employers argue that what they post is public knowledge so they cannot be charged with neglect of someone’s privacy.

So, does net neutrality offer to much freedom for users? I agree with net neutrality stopping ISP’s from monopolizing the internet airways, but is too much freedom open other problems? If I go to the facebook account of every applicant that applies to my program and I say that I am only looking for things that they lied about on the application, but I see pictures of them supporting something terrible, or doing something terrible, will that affect my decision? I say it would not, but I am only human so is it in the back of my mind? Is social media accounts that I can access without a password truly public knowledge?

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