Private information at your fingertips

We all have these days where we get immensely frustrated at our phones, and want to chuck it against the wall, not caring about the consequences. That describes my relationship with my phone, but a few weeks ago my phone was acting completely crazy and coincidently caused me to discover something new: a Facebook phonebook.

Wait, a Facebook phonebook? Yes, that’s right. In addition to my regular contacts, some of whom I never talk to anyway, I had an additional contact list with 200 people (or possibly more) that I never even met. Their numbers were at my disposal. I was pretty amazed at this neat feature on my tiny Android phone. I never had to ask these people for their numbers; all I had to do was type in their name and I could send them an impromptu text whenever I wanted.

As much as I found this new technology intriguing, I also found it creepy. It made me think about not only the privacy settings of Facebook, but how we collectively as users give out too much information in the first place. Some users fill out every single box and section social networking sites ask for; providing everything from their favorite colors to their full addresses and phone numbers. It seems like no one thinks about what Facebook could do with all of this information, or who else could just steal any of this information with their own intent.

Yes, a Facebook phonebook may seem like a breach in privacy controls on the creators of Facebook’s behalf, but what about our duties as users to protect ourselves and not engage ourselves in sticky situations? We hear about these horror stories with unsuspecting girls getting raped because they put to much info on Facebook and say, “Yeah, I’ll never be that person.”

But do we really take the time to see the access we allow others to have of our own lives?

Krystel is a freshman majoring in creative writing.