I know who you are and I saw what you did : social networks and the death of privacy, by Lori B. Andrews. New York: Free Press, 2011. 253 pages. In SHU Library at: Popular Books collection, first floor.
--By Stephanie Sorbara '15
Despite the many laws that defend one’s right to privacy, there are not many rules that regulate one’s right to privacy when it comes to the internet. When information is posted on the internet, it can be hacked into and easily obtained by anyone anywhere around the world. And even though one agrees to the information that they post on the computer, can one control what the website chooses do with that information? Lori Andrews illustrates the many dangers of sharing personal information on the internet in her novel, I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did.
Facebook for example has increased in popularity within the past few years and continues to do so. Though Facebook has privacy settings that allow its users to control what other users can view his or her information, how can anyone be sure that no strangers are viewing their profile? When Facebook updates its pages or changes the format of the site, the privacy settings on one’s account are subject to change, making all of their information available to all users on Facebook. Now, anyone can access any statuses or pictures that one chooses to post on his or her Facebook. Andrews presents evidence of these dangers by providing real cases in which people have been ruled against in court because judges and lawyers were able to access a subject’s personal information through the internet and use that information against him or her in court. Unfortunately, there are not many effective laws that protect one from being held against their own personal information that somebody obtained through the internet. This creates much controversy because one may argue that because it is somebody’s personal information, he or she has a right to control how the website uses the information, while others may argue that because the person agrees to post certain information, they are agreeing to allow the website to do what they please with that information.
Andrews accurately depicts the effects of posting information on the internet and the controversy surrounding the subject. Sometimes the novel can seem a bit repetitive and bland with the numerous examples that Andrews includes to get her point across. But regardless, she successfully illustrates the corruption within social networking and the internet while presenting many plausible arguments that are completely relevant to current times. The world needs to be aware of the issues that can arise due to social networks and the consequences of posting personal information on the computer, especially because the internet is becoming such an integral part of our daily lives.