Too much social networking could lead to Big Brother fears, agency says

An ENISA report warns of the dangers of 'life-logging'

Europe's biggest cybersecurity agency, ENISA, has warned that social networking could lead to a feeling of being continuously under surveillance and paranoid behavior.

The agency made the comments in a report that looks ahead to 2014 to predict positive and negative effects of online "life-logging." While accepting the many potential benefits of social networking, ENISA was concerned about the great risks of personal data breaches and called on European Union member states to consider introducing "real sanctions."

The report also advised the European Commission to "utilize the consultation on revisions to the data protection directive as a mechanism to anticipate the regulatory frameworks required as a result of increasing use of life-logging devices and services."

The report examines the impact on a fictional family of putting ever more personal information online. To access the benefits of the Internet, people have to upload personal data over which they have little control, the report concluded. "This implies threats to privacy, loss of personal data control, harm to your reputation and the possibility of psychological damage from exclusion or the feeling of constant surveillance," said the report.

"For commercial organizations, there is the risk of breaching data protection laws, resulting in legal sanctions and irreversible damage to reputation. Governments may suffer losses of public confidence if they are perceived not to be properly protecting their citizens' personal information," it continued.

However, despite the doom-laden tone of the report, ENISA also pointed out that "for citizens across Europe, the benefits of sharing information through social media, access goods and services via new applications are immense." Families and friends can stay in touch, reducing individuals' sense of isolation, government services can be accessed through new applications and people can also benefit professionally by building their reputations online.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessocial networkingENISAinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?