Advocacy by and for People with ABI (Acquired Brain Injury)
Internet Providers Share Information About You with Third Parties
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the SABI (Survivor Acquired Brain Injury) Community,
Internet providers often share information about you with third parties. Please review your account, profile and privacy settings with each of your providers. You may be able to turn off default settings that say to share, and turn on settings that say not share.
Internet companies make money by sharing information about "customers" (which would be you and me). This is why companies that you might be affiliated with ask you for information, and this is why they will set sharing defaults at "open to anybody". This is why they want to share your messages and contacts with the world. You must pay careful attention to the profile settings that you have with any Internet provider you may do business with. Doing business means that you have an account with such providers. Providers might be Yahoo, Microsoft, Myspace, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Here is some information about how to set profile settings with one of the big providers, which is Yahoo. I have selected Yahoo for this discussion, because the Brain Injury Network uses "Yahoo Groups", so if you are in a Brain Injury Network Yahoo group, this discussion regarding Yahoo applies to you. (However, please note that you could just as easily use these ideas to give you a sense of how to deal with some other provider. Their settings might be different, but the gist is the same. Do not allow providers to share information about you online without your permission. They will often assume you allow sharing. They may be sharing right now and you do not even know that. You must manually change your privacy or profile settings in every provider you deal with in order to stop automatic sharing to third parties.)
Here is the article regarding Yahoo profiles.
Please Review Your Yahoo (or other provider) Profile Settings
Everyone with a Yahoo account and/or in any Yahoo group should look at his or her Yahoo profile. Please go to http://profiles.yahoo.com/
Yahoo sets the defaults in your profile. Yahoo sets them to permit them to share your information, contacts, messages, etc., with third parties. You must go in to each setting and change the setting if you want more privacy.
Once you are on your Yahoo profile page, in turn click on Edit Profile, Profile Settings, and Contact Information. In each section you will have choices. For example, in "Edit Profile" you should look at each section (About Me, Blog, etc.) and pick the sharing level that is best for you. The choices may be that only you can see, that only your connections and you can see, or that anyone can see. So, you have to decide the level of sharing that you want. You have to make that decision on each and every section of your Yahoo profile.
I suppose it comes as no surprise to anyone that I select "me only" on as many sections as will allow it. Sometimes there is the option "no one", and I like to select that one when I see it available. It is not that I don't want to share information sometimes; it is just that I don't want it shared by Yahoo via my Yahoo profile.
Next to some of the categories there is a little edit pen. When you click on that you will come to boxes that Yahoo wants you to fill out. One example is your interests. Again, it should come as no surprise that I leave all of that blank. If you fill out those boxes when you are in your Yahoo account you will get ads showing up on your screen that are based on the interests you shared on that Yahoo interests profile section. For example, if you said you were a Star Trek fan you will start receiving ads and promos for Star Trek products.
This is how Yahoo receives money from third party advertisers, by finding out your interests and sharing that information with them. So, don't give them information to share. It is not only advertisers who have access to your profile, however. If you allow Yahoo to share your profile with anyone, believe me, anyone on the planet will be able to see all about you.
While you are at it, please review your profile on any other provider or platform that you use, such as Facebook, MySpace, Google Groups, etc. Each one is different. Each one has different settings. You have to review your privacy or profile settings on each one separately.