In the same week that we have Thing 7: Online Identity on 23Things for Research, there is an interesting article in the NZHerald on How to wipe yourself off the Internet.
Because of new UE laws, Google has been required to comply with a European’s right to “be forgotten.” However, the article says this is not the case in Aotearoa New Zealand. “There’s no way at the moment to request that Google take something off the New Zealand index – you have to go to the internet provider, or the blog host, or the newspaper publisher and have it removed there.”
What a laborious and tedious job, that would be! Best to be careful about what goes up there in the first place. According to the article, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner suggests three ways to minimise your online presence:
- Be careful about what you give when a website requests information.
- Make certain you read a website’s privacy notices.
- Change your browser settings to control cookies.
However, if you are developing a professional online identity to publicise academic and professional expertise, I think it is as much the information out there about you, as the legitimacy of the sites where it is to be found. Better to have a decent profile on the Auckland University site than on Facebook, for example.
On the other hand, Gadgetwise, the New Yok Times blogger, suggests piggybacking off sites that rank high in Google, like “Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Naymz, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Vimeo, FriendFeed and Ning” in order to “park your profile.” They suggest adding “the necessary amount of content and mak(ing) sure to adjust the settings to public view where appropriate so that your profile can be crawled and indexed by Google.”
Even so, after reading this week’s lessons, I have searched my name and where I have been able, have removed information of a more personal nature and checked settings. Interestingly, the only image of myself I could find in a google search, came from a tagged photo from a previous university profile to which I no longer have access. I intend to approach the university and ask that it be removed. It will be an interesting exercise.