Monday, January 11, 2010

The Virtual World and Privacy Concerns

I'll continue my series of "some of the most stimulating classes I've ever taken" in some time. For now, I've something more important to share; it has to do with protecting ourselves from virtual predators.

The Virtual World and Privacy Concerns

Facebook is a socializing means used widely nowadays by much of the educated youth. Unfortunately, during the last few months, several very unhappy and disturbed Pukhtun females from Facebook have expressed complaints about the unethical behavior of those persons who have been misusing their pictures on Youtube, which is another internet tool used for broadcasting small movie clips. This ignoble and heinous practice by such irresponsible persons with malicious intentions is a serious violation of someone’s privacy as well as an immoral act against another individual. One wonders how far we have strayed from our instincts and how narrow, how musty our souls have become! It is due to misfortunes like this that Pukhtun girls should take extra precautionary measures in safeguarding their privacy by not sharing their pictures or videos online.

The people who upload these videos purely for subversive measures need to ponder how they would react if anyone did the same despicable thing to their sisters or daughters. In that similar tone, the girls whose pictures are being shared with the world, without their knowledge and inevitably without their consent are somebody’s sisters and somebody’s daughters.

We all know that Pukhtuns regard the virtues of chastity and modesty characterized by a sense of self respect and high self-esteem. Publicizing herself in a negative manner is against the self respect of a Pukhtun woman, and it is not appreciated but is instead considered an affront to the Pakhtun society at large. It is also an established fact that Pukhtun cultural standards do not appreciate those women who publicize themselves except when involved in a public office, political status, government portfolio, or humanitarian situations. Hence, it is highly condemnable to disrespect the dignity and female-hood of Pukhtun women in particular and other women in general.

Although no one should stoop to the level of disrespecting others’ privacy on the web, it is imperative for females to be careful when being involved in online communities, such as Facebook, Orkut, and MySpace. It is a bitter and appalling reality that females have to put so much effort into protecting their privacy, as they cannot express their individualities in virtual communities without being misrepresented and defiled by certain men – or possibly even women – who have no respect for themselves or for other human beings. Obsession blinds people, and blind emotions are checked by humanist values. One sometimes falls into the deep and fathomless abyss of one’s instinctual desires that disqualify the person from the high ethical and moral ground, which is the salient feature of humanity.

In an attempt to put an end to this frustrating and burdensome phenomenon, I wish to present the following suggestions.
  • Avoid joining networks that are public – and if you join them, then do not give viewers the benefit of any personal information about yourself, including your real name, location, and contact information.
  • On private networks (e.g., Facebook), do not add people unless you know them very well; this means avoid accepting friend requests from random people, especially from those with whom you have many friends in common. You never know – perhaps your friends accept friend requests from people they do not know well or should not trust.
  • It is best not to upload your pictures on online sites at all. But if you absolutely must put them up, make sure to adjust your album settings in such a way that only your intimate friends can access them. This also means that your profile picture should not be available to the public. If you are unfamiliar with the site and don’t know how to work the settings, ask someone who does.
  • I have observed that some people have hundreds of friends. Who has this many “friends” – except for celebrities, politicians, etc.? How often do you talk to them, and how many of them do you actually know? Go through your list every now and then and clean it up.
These suggestions should not be taken in a negative manner. I strongly believe that too many people do not realize how harmful the net can be to us not just as individuals but as a community as well, and one can never be too careful about delicate matters such as privacy.

1 comment:

  1. @Qrratugai, Words of wisdom!

    Very important to think before clicking the button and putting ones-self in the public domain.


Dare to opine :)

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