In today's world socializing with other people has become the need of each and every individual. So there is growing demand of Social Networking Sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, etc. With advanced technology and cheaper broadband connections millions of people are registered with these SNS and thousands are registering daily. If we look at the example of Facebook then we can understand the popularity of this Social Networking sites.(Mail Online) It is believed and proven that one out of every 13th person on the planet is a registered member of Facebook and nearly half of them regularly log on to this hugely successful website networking website. However with the growing popularity of this SNS the data protection issue is becoming a major concern. With millions of registered members these SNS have data base of each and every member's personal detail. People readily share their photos, videos, relationship status, contact details and several other private details on this SNS. However secure are this Social Networking Sites? How secure is the data on these Social Networking Sites? So this is my topic of interest and I would investigate the above mentioned questions through my research. As we move ahead in this draft we will look at a brief section of the literature review, research methods to be employed, ethical considerations which will be followed by outcomes.
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(Tech Crunch) During July 2010 Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook announced that this ever so popular social networking site has hit the mark of 500 million registered members. With so many people joining websites like Facebook and MySpace there are growing ethical concerns about the data protection. People are raising questions about the protection of the personal details and worried about sharing personal information with other over SNS. (Tech News World) This new age of technology and sharing information has enabled many people to share certain set of information which is too personal to them. Sharing personal details on SNS in the myth it would stay private is a huge misconception. Several companies like credit card and insurance companies are trying to use Facebook and MYSpace to find more customers and send spam messages. Similarly many affiliate marketers are targeting people's account and e-mail addresses to market their product and services. People upload their information on the SNS thinking that it's safe however this data as a life which is far beyond were it was originally uploaded. (Guardian) Such is the popularity of Social Networking websites that the European Union has warned all the SNS including Facebook to set high levels of data privacy and allow users to have control of their data. European Union wants to ensure that all SNS and especially Facebook comply with all the rules regulation governed by the European Union. Growing popularity of websites like Facebook has forced governments of different countries to ensure that appropriate guidelines are maintained and civilian's data is protected. However this is not easily achievable as more and more people are facing social and ethical issues because of theft of their personal information. (Guardian) Such is the misuse of personal data that people's life is at risk and there have been several murders and rape incidents via use of social networking sites. During the period of February 2010 a serial criminal made a fake Facebook account and lured a young girl named Ashleigh Hall to meet him. On upon their meeting the criminal raped the girl and later on she was found dead. Later on Police found out that this criminal had created a false facebook account using fake identify and photo to attract young women for illegal purposes.
(9 News) A similar incident was recorded in Brisbane Australia were a Twenty Two year old lady Sarah Elston was murdered to death by a 28 year old men named Bowmen Hills. As in the earlier incident Police found out that the murderer had found the victim's profile via Facebook. And there are several other incidents which are occurring around the world and SNS sites can easily be responsible for them. Internet users are increasing every day as the Broad band connections are getting every day and there is fierce competition among Broad Band providers. (Wong, Y, et.al, 2007) In this internet era the maintenance of an individual privacy and the right to be left alone is increasingly important. And the reason behind being that internet users are spammed with hundreds of junk e-mails and unwanted messages jamming their e-mail accounts. And it is highly possible that Social networking sites data privacy lapses could be responsible for the same.
Research Strategy and Methodology:
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In order to complete my research I intended to collect both primary as well as secondary data. I intended to collect quantitative data via means of conducting primary data. I plan to conduct a primary research in order to thoroughly investigate my research question. I plan to conduct an online survey to complete my primary research using a snow ball technique. I plan to prepare an online questioner which will contain both closed ended and open ended questions. Personal or Telephone interviews are very expensive and complicated means of collecting primary data. When compared to other methods of data collection the online survey is easily accessible and cheapest to implement. However I am aware that online survey can generate a very poor response rate which can be as low as 20 %. I have decided to conduct the online survey among age group of 16-20, 20-25, 26-30, 30 and above. The questions asked to the respondents will be based upon their confidence in SNS data privacy options. It will ask respondents about how secure they feel when going to social networking sites. Respondents will be asked whether they would like to see any changes made to the security settings on these social networking sites. In order to collect necessary data I also intend to use secondary data sources like books, journals, news papers, magazines and internet sources.
Logical and Ethical Consideration:
Since this would be a primary research I would ensure that none of the information gathered by me is misused. I would ensure that I make my final draft which would take into consideration all the logical and ethical issues. I would ensure that I add a note in my questioner which will give valuable information to the respondents. This note will insure respondents that their personal information won't be disclosed and the gathered data will only be used for completing the research in focus. I will make sure that I follow all the rules and guidelines of College of Technology London and University of Wales, Lampeter. Whilst making my questionnaire I would keep all the ethical considerations in mind and ensure that no particular individual, organisation or group is targeted.
My Primary research is based on a very interesting and controversial topic. Today's youth is very interested and excited about this phenomenon of social networking websites. So I expect a good response rate for my primary research which would be conducted via online survey. I expect people from every age group to respond to this questionnaire since social networking sites are used by individuals of all age groups. I feel that half of the respondents may show concern about the privacy of data on SNS. However I do expect that the other half of the respondents will show confidence in the privacy settings of SNS. However it will be very interesting to find about the age group which feels insecure about their privacy of data compared to the age group which show confidence in the social networking sites. So in the end a good response rate will ensure that my primary research will highlight some very interesting set of information which can be very useful for further researchers.
Gantt Chart :
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Contact professionals for personal interviews
Short Literature Review
Proposal Feedback - Modifications ( if required)
Follow-up respondents to negotiate access
Interview / Questionnaire with respondents
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Zeljkovic, M , Wills, C. (2011). A personalized approach to web privacy: awareness, attitudes and actions.Â Information Management & Computer Security. 19 (NA), 53-73.
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Ocha, M , Loving, M. (2011). Facebook as a classroom management solution.Â New Library World. 112 (3), 121-130.
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Carter,H. (2010).Â Facebook murderer who posed as teenager to lure victim jailed for life.Â Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/08/peter-chapman-facebook-ashleigh-hall. Last accessed 13th April 2011.
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