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A student contribution by Majd Al Taher reproduced without changes.
There are various articles all over the Internet addressing security issues in Web 2.0. Whether you look in blogs, magazines, online journals all seem to share the same opinion, Web 2.0 can be a great opportunity but the benefits of using the technology can be massively hindered by the privacy risks. I’m sure by now most of the readers have heard of Sony getting hacked, and read about the reports tracing the hacker to the Amazon cloud, how true that is? Well that remains to be concluded. That one event resulted in a massive downward spiral in terms of Sony’s profits. So was it worth it for them to use Web 2.0? Furthermore, with time and experience, will users of the social media websites not realize they are jeopardizing their futures, their entire privacy? Many people believe privacy on social media can be monitored however, if that were the case then the various social media networks may be out of business. One might question that statement, and say that social media networks do not sell my information to other businesses. Even if that were true social media stores massive information about each user, that can easily be hacked and collected. If users start to believe business are taking advantage of them, would they stop publishing content online, or even worse would they purposely boycott the company’s products in order to make statements?
Web 2.0 presents a great opportunity for many businesses. First, company’s can appropriately target consumers for a much cheaper cost. Each company can measure the exact return on advertisement they get from inventing in a certain social network. Furthermore, rather than relentlessly attempting to target consumers who are uninterested in the products businesses can now target consumer who can be potential clients. With the over reliance of online advertising many company’s put their servers at risk, for example Sony, when their servers were hacked. This presents another opportunity, company’s such as Norton and MacAfee have been struggling to keep up sales with the levels they had in previous years, now, they can promote Web 2.0 security through their products which can protect both the businesses and the users.
Governments are taking a massive step into making it harder and harder for users to hack various servers. Hacking is considered illegal in many countries even for the smallest purpose such as a friendly joke. With this pressure being applied on the “bad-guys”, more will eventually be forced out of the hacking industry.
The risk of social privacy applies to the users of Web 2.0 as well as the businesses. Many users have reported credit card theft, identity theft and a lot of other issues due to using Social networks as well as Web 2.0. If the lack of social privacy continues, many companies are aware they will lose their users, and with that their user generated content, which means losing their main revenue factor. Due to this many companies are amplify security measures when transacting with clients, taking and receiving their private information. Privacy has now become a main mission, and a factor of differentiation for many businesses. This further emphasizes that businesses are taking a right step towards insuring customer security, and privacy.
User awareness is increasing at a steady rate, and people are beginning to understand the need for security, and are starting to monitor which company’s they deal with and which company’s they don’t. This further adds pressure on the various companies to insure that they live up to the security standards. Sony has lost various key clients, and is facing lawsuits from many other clients. Another, recent security breach was a breach at a key US defense contractor, Lockheed. However, because the company invested heavily in security (with good reason) no information was stolen. The fact Lockheed managed to thwart the security breach before any significant damage could have been done, shows that many companies are taking steps towards insuring security, which says that maintaining security can be done.
So why are so many people skeptical? Web 2.0 has many benefits as well as implications to both business and consumers. Many critics say that Web 2.0 is only a method of attracting and taking advantage of users. However, Web 2.0 has opened a variety of doors, which were never available in the past. My parents did not have the ability to research a car before they purchased it, or find out how much a car costs (how much they are going to be ripped off). People did not have the ability to read content and opinion by other people, instead they were constantly fed information companies provided them, which meant that these people could be easily exploited. If anything Web 2.0 has forced company’s to act in an ethical manner, scandals can no longer be covered up. Company’s that once operated chop shops have been exposed and forced to take action to improve the working conditions, instead of take advantage of others. Online information is no longer one sided, users can read news articles with various different point of views.
As with every other technology, Web 2.0 may still have some flaws, and security is one of them. However, security, is constantly being improved, security procedures are being tightened by all users, the businesses, the network providers, the governments, and most importantly the users. Security has become a driving concern for all parties involved. If a single party fails to abide by the security code then the remaining will insure the company faces great consequences, such as Sony, and now possibly Nintendo. Web 2.0 has many advantages and some disadvantages, but it seems with time the advantages are increasing that can positively affect many global factors, such as the increase awareness on the need to be environmentally friends. Finally, it is not enough for the advantages to increase while the disadvantages remain, and many companies realize this, and they are attempting to find the best methods to reduce these disadvantages, to improve social security.
Andriole, S.J.A. (2010). Business impact of web 2.0 technologies . Communications of the ACM, 53(12), Retrieved from http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1859225
Zimmer, M.Z. (2008). The externalities of search 2.0: the emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets web 2.0. Google Scholar, 13. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2136/1944