How to effectively monitor your child online (but not really)

I added the brackets to the title of the article published last week by the Sydney Morning Herald as upon reading the article, there is no magic bullet when it comes to monitoring your child.

What is new though is the thought that monitoring your child online is not really invading their privacy as practically nothing online is private anyway. Even if privacy settings are on maximum, ‘friends’ can still take screenshots and distribute text or photos more widely than was originally intended. So the concept of online privacy is a tenuous one at best.

Rebecca Levey links her kids’ devices to her iTunes account so she’s aware of programs they install. She also requires that her kids make their accounts accessible to her and follow certain ground rules: protect your passwords, set privacy controls and never transmit inappropriate pictures or words.

A big hurdle for parents is overcoming the idea they are invading their kids’ privacy by monitoring online activity, she said. In fact, she said, it can be the kid’s first lesson that hardly anything online is private, anyway.

“If they want privacy,” she said, “they should write in a journal and hide it under their mattress.”

Another idea is for parents to turn off wifi networks at bedtime. Read the whole article here.

Is our love affair with Facebook over?

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article investigating Australia’s relationship with Facebook. They found:

A quantitative survey we conducted of 753 Australian Facebook users (selected to represent the general population) tells the story even more succinctly.

  • Thirty-one per cent of Australian Facebook users feel that they spend too much time on the site.
  • This number doubled to 61 per cent among those aged between 18 and 29. “Facebook is driving me nuts,” a 21-year-old Sydney student participant complains in one of our recent studies. ”So much to keep up with. But you have to be on it,” she says with a sigh.
  • Forty-three per cent of users have thought about closing their accounts, with slightly more – 47 per cent – of those aged between 18 and 29 admitting to considering disliking Facebook for good.

What’s your relationship with Facebook? Read the whole story here.

Facebook shuts down facial recognition tool, in some markets

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Facebook has been made to turn off its controversial facial recognition tool, which had been previously discussed here on iQ:

in the European Union. SMH reports:

FACEBOOK has disabled its controversial facial recognition feature in the European Union after criticism from government regulators and privacy advocates. The world’s largest online social network has already switched off the feature for new users and has now agreed to delete all data used by the software to identify members by October 15.

Please note that at present this only relates to Europe. Read the whole article here.


Attorney-General Nicola Roxon wants unprecedented access to the private lives of Australians

Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article on how Australia’s Attorney General wants access to our data. The report outlines the new moves:

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon is canvassing a further expansion of surveillance powers, most controversially a requirement that telecommunications and internet service providers retain at least two years of data for access by government agencies.

Security and privacy are in the balance as the Federal Parliament’s secretive joint committee on intelligence and security considers Australia’s future digital surveillance regime.

Data accessed includes phone and internet account information, outwards and inwards call details, internet access, and details of websites visited, though not the actual content of communications.

Federal government agencies gaining access to such data include ASIO, AFP, the Australian Crime Commission, the Tax Office, the departments of Defence, Immigration and Citizenship and Health and Ageing, and Medicare. Data is also accessed by state police and anti-corruption bodies, state government agencies, local government bodies and even the RSPCA.

As we are living more and more in online spaces, these laws could affect all of us at some time in our lives. Read the whole article here.

Social media to be gagged?

Late last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Attorneys-General from each of Australia’s states have met to discuss ways to gag social media comments that could directly affect the outcome of matters before the courts.

The attorneys, meeting in Brisbane today on the day Ms Meagher’s funeral was held in Melbourne, set up a group to create national guidelines on social media.

Headed by Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark, the group will be made up of mainstream and social media representatives, judicial officers and police.

It will make recommendations on how to regulate the spread of prejudicial material on social media, warnings for users that police or courts could issue on Facebook and Twitter, and protocols for social media companies.

It will also propose directions that courts can give to juries on social media, examine laws detailing juror offences and assess what research is needed to determine how social media affected jurors’ decisions.

At one stage, Facebook had refused requests from Victoria Police to take down offending pages. Read the entire article here.

Authorities gain power to collect Australians’ internet records

A few days ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on how

Laws passed will allow authorities to collect and keep Australians’ internet records, including their web-browsing history, social media activity and emails….The legislation will allow the Australian Federal Police to collaborate with international authorities in seeking Australian communications data under warrants.

Read more about how the laws may affect you.

Rugby player Robbie Farah calls in police over vile tweets

Today the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Wests Tigers rugby captain Robbie Farah has had enough of vile tweets sent to him, he has not only called in the police, he has called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to take action over trolling:

We need @JuliaGillard to take some action and change these soft laws. people need to be accountable for their comments.

He continued to tweet:

We all need to make a stand and get these scums off twitter. The laws are p__ weak and people should be accountable for their comments.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell also weighed in, saying in a message to Farah he would support action being taken in the matter. ”shouldn’t matter who target is – completely unacceptable,” he wrote. ”Will follow up & happy to work with Feds to stop it.” The same Twitter troll sent several messages to Canberra fullback Josh Dugan yesterday. Farah’s actions in highlighting the offensive tweet and making a stand might prompt stricter laws around social media.

Again this week we users of social media have to take a long hard look at ourselves. If you ensure that you don’t tweet or post on Facebook anything that might offend your grandmother, then you’re pretty much going to be okay.

Read the whole report here.