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Give your loved ones a little Privacy this holiday

Do your loved ones have toys on their wish lists this holiday? A stuffed animal for a little one… a cell phone or a camera for a teen? These days, these toys and gadgets are more than they used to be. Just a few years ago a stuffed animal was something to cuddle with and a phone was, well, just a phone! Now, many stuffed animals come with codes that allow kids to register them online so that they can play games, feed and care for them, and even chat and play with other kids. And many cellphones are phones, computers and cameras, all in one.

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Protecting personal information online – do young people get it?

Our Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart is worried that maybe they don’t. After conducting an investigation into Facebook’s privacy policies, we’re now turning our attention to youth as the school year gets underway. Because while they may be savvy about using social media, many of them still may not know how to create a secure online identity.

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Who are these identity thieves?

Many of you have serious reservations about conducting on-line transactions, and often associate identity theft with IT geniuses hacking into computer networks. We really can’t turn a blind eye to technological development and its close connection to the emergence of new techniques for exploiting personal information. However, identity theft transcends the virtual world, and it often hits much closer to home.

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Do your young people “think before they upload”?

Did you know it’s Privacy Awareness Week in the Asia Pacific Region? If you’ve got young people in your life, who you’re trying to impart the privacy-awareness message to, have them check out the three-minute video, featured on our YouTube channel, that the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) launched to mark the week.

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Privacy in Facebook apps — the risk of the SuperPoke

The social networking site Facebook has been under scrutiny lately for lax security with its applications feature. Applications in Facebook are created by third-party software developers and are run on third-party servers. These applications can take many forms – a quiz, a game, or just another way to reach out to friends – but the common feature in all is that they allow software developers to access Facebook users’ personal data.

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Because not every frog is a prince

Last year, IT security firm Sophos ran an experiment on Facebook to demonstrate just how willing people were to hand over their information to potential ID thieves. They created a fake profile page on Facebook for a small green plastic frog and sent out 200 friend requests to other Facebook users. Eighty-two of those people responded, and in doing so, divulged personal information like their email address, birthdate, workplace or school location, and phone number – all useful details for the aspiring identity thief.

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