Staff Editorial: Betrayed by your BlackBerry

Students at the University of Miami have been warned about the dangers of the internet and the privacy risks it entails since they were in elementary school.

Chat rooms were deemed a haven for sexual predators and scam artists. Personal information needed to be kept off Facebook. Credit card information should only be given to established and trusted sites.

Now, however, avoiding the pitfalls of privacy invasion is not as obvious.

For example, the government can track the paths of cellphones, some in real time. According to a Newsweek article titled “The Snitch in Your Pocket,” AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all carry this feature.

Furthermore, Gmail scans your e-mails for keywords which it sells to advertisers. Since you are likely to have common interests with the people on your contact list, the advertisers then target these people as well.

Nevertheless, getting rid of cellphones or doing away with e-mail is hardly an option. They have become too convenient and important.

Just think back to that time your professor cancelled your 8 a.m. class and you did not check your e-mail before you left or you forgot to sync your cellphone to your e-mail. Bet you wish you could have gotten those few hours of sleep back.

Ultimately, there is no escaping this invasion completely, but awareness is key. Your information is valuable to a slew of different entities, be it the government tracking your more devious behavior, or an advertiser realizing you used the words “mountain bike” in three separate e-mails.

Research free services or discounted credit cards and make sure the terms that you agree to are kosher. If nothing else, it will stop you from getting a truck load of junk mail.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.

February 24, 2010


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.