Internet Privacy - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Protecting your privacy online

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Some changes to your favorite websites like Facebook and Google are already taking place - allowing them to get to know people better and in turn making it more difficult for you to keep personal information, private.

You may think those pictures, you posted online of you having a little too much fun last weekend is personal business that you and only a select group of friends can see.

But how can you know who's really looking at those photos and reading your blog?

Facebook recently rolled out its new Timeline profile, and it will soon be mandatory for all users. But keep in mind, Timeline makes it easier for users to know when and where you took those pictures and with whom.

Social media expert and President of End Game PR, Steve Mullen, says sites like Facebook offer privacy settings but it can be hard to understand - best advice, don't post anything you don't want your parents or boss to see.

"There is no expectation of privacy on Facebook, people like to think there is, but if somebody wants to find your info, they will one way or another see your pictures, read your posts, particularly with employers using it more and more to scope out potential employees it's something you need to be really careful about," said Mullen.

The more personal data you put out, the more access people will have of you.

"Anybody who hasn't, on Facebook, gone in and check their privacy settings for a while, probably should. They have changed over the last year, two years. They've changed several times," said Mullen.

Private information is just the kind of data Google is looking for.

Come March, Google said it plans to link private data on users across e-mail, social-networking and more. They're getting to know you better by watching what you search, read, watch, and inquire about online.

Right now, lawmakers are asking for more details on how Google will store the personal information and, whether there will be special protections for children and teenagers.

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