Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Privacy and social networking

By Andrew Barkla - posted Tuesday, 6 May 2008

For the first time, we used YouTube to release some compelling research as part of our Unisys Security Index: Australia’s only regular snapshot of public attitudes to key security issues.

We’ve chose YouTube for a simple reason - our findings directly relate to online social networking which is enormously popular with users of YouTube. And the results we are releasing are surprising and even controversial.

In fact 83 per cent of Australians said they were uncomfortable providing key personal data online but the reality is that they are continuing to post this material despite their concern.


Our research partner Newspoll conducted a national survey. We wanted to know how comfortable people were posting a range of personal information online when social networking. The majority of people are clearly uncomfortable:

Our results are a clear message to the millions of online networking users. You are feeling uncomfortable because you know the risks and perhaps now is the time to start thinking about how to reduce those risks of ID theft and privacy invasion.

We have all seen the many stories in the media about online social networking when it goes wrong. For example:

These stories often highlight the little we all know about how best to ensure online security and privacy of information.

Yet despite these high profile cases, and the lack of comfort our research has identified, people continue to place large amounts of personal information on these sites without much regard for the privacy implications.


Why aren’t we taking the steps to modify our online behaviour in the full knowledge that the more information we place on line and the less discriminating we are, the greater the risk of exposure to ID theft and more?

There is a clear paradox here - we know we need to better protect our information yet, at the same time, we are becoming more liberal in the amount of data we release into a public domain.

The very essence of online social networking lays at the heart of this paradox, explained by Catherine Dwyer, a lecturer at New York's Pace University who specialises in social networking sites:

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

1 post so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Andrew Barkla is Vice President and General Manager of Unisys Asia Pacific.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Andrew Barkla
Article Tools
Comment 1 comment
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy