Students at the University of Miami have been warned about the dangers of the internet and the privacy risks it entails since we were in elementary school.
Chat rooms were a haven for sexual predators and scam artists. Personal information needed to be kept off of Facebook. Credit card information should only be given to established and trusted sites.
However, now the ability to avoid the pitfalls of privacy invasion are not as obvious.
For example, the government can track the paths of cell phones, some in real time. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have the ability to do this according to a Newsweek article titled The Snitch in Your Pocket.
Also, google mail scans your emails for keywords which it sells to advertisers. Then since you are likely to have common interest as the people on your friend list the advertisers also target this people as well.
Yet getting rid of cell phones or emails is not really an option. They have become too convenient and important.
Just think back to that time your professor canceled your 8 a.m. class and you did not check your email before you left or your cell phone was not set up to receive emails. Bet you wish you could have had those few hours of sleep back.
So there is really no choice in some of this invasion but awareness is key. Realize that your information is valuable to a slew of different entities. Whether it is the government tracking some of your more devious behavior or an advertiser realizing you used the word “mountain bike” in three separate emails.
Do research on free services or discount 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.