Privacy and Control
Privacy and the Internet is a battleground and I think the opposing sides are just beginning to amass various weapons of mass destruction. The problem in part as Gurak noted, is that people don't know what their rights are or what the are the rights of the service providers. Copyright is also a grey area. Most important though is the illusion of coziness we may have with ourselves in a home office with a cup of coffee and our computer. Behind that screen, for lack of a better term is not big void of incomprehensible plasticity, but of liquidity--ever-changing, but with a wicked memory, and depth. We have noted that many of these applications are very accessible and friendly, but Gurak says "technologies do their work in the background." (p. 114) Behind all of this simple and easy to use design is a lot of work, code, and data.
I have trouble with the fact that employers see it as a right to look into Facebook or other sites for transgressions of young applicants. To me that steps over a line beyond reference checking. I liked that Cornell steps away from that approach as an institution--"Cornell University is very proud of its policy against monitoring the network for content as a practice." This gives college students a chance to breathe and as the policy states again "make decisions about who you want to be." The idea that every move one makes on a computer is monitored and recorded and indexed---somewhere has the potential to make paranoiacs or exhibitionists of us all.
I find it kind of sad and limiting that we have to be so careful of providing on-line information, as Gurak says "a good guideline for cyberliteracy is that you should never post anything on the Internet or on e-mail that you would regret seeing in a different context." I would think it takes a lot of the spontenaity out of many interactions. However, it seems like young users (Pew) are aware of such hazards and make good use of privacy settings on social networking sites.