Monday, 9 February 2009

Happy Birthday!

Facebook is 5 years old! For some, social networking sites are a great way to keep in touch with friends, catch up with family or set up petitions to bring back extinct chocolate bars. For others, namely employers, social networking sites are the bane of their lives as their employees appear more committed to checking their Facebook status then doing their paid work, which has lead to many companies blocking these networking sites. On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz have made a small fortune (Zuckerberg has been valued as having a net worth of $1.5 billion) with investors running from Asian billionaires to Microsoft.

One of the first major social networking sites that made it big was Myspace which is still the worlds largest site of its kind with over 250 million accounts in existence. At the peak of its popularity Myspace was attracting 230,000 new users a day and has been credited with helping many music bands get record deals through free advertising on its site. At present, MySpace’s' growth is in decline where as Facebooks continues to grow. In the past year, Alexa have compared the two, with Facebook's reach rising 12% while Myspace has dropped by 2% although both are still rising in overall popularity.

The amount of personal information held by all of the social networking sites poses significant security risks especially identity theft. In the UK alone, people have been expelled from Colleges and Universities and fired from their jobs because of evidence acquired on Facebook and Myspace about their poor conduct. The younger generations do not fully understand the implications of allowing so many people to view their personal data; date of births, place of
residence etc... which can make identity theft significantly easier for criminals. This coupled with the increase of teenager hackers who are frequenting online fraud forums where they can easily swap stolen credit card details and find 'cracks' in public programs, means that the social networking sites have a huge responsibility to maintain vast firewalls and servers in highly secure data centres to protect their users.

One of the questions that should be asked every time you enter personal details online is "Where is my data being held?". In the UK we have very good data protection laws that aim to keep all information about us safe, but in America there is different legislation in place for each aspect of information held. There are many worries from the European Union about the adequacy of self-regulation that many private sector companies use in the US. There are many small laws that are in use, but there appears to be no plans for an all encompassing law to protect data as a whole. This means that while you think your information is being protected by European law, it may be being accessed totally legally in another country. The simple answer is never fill in your information details if you don't have to. The one thing that you truly own is your personal data, protect it and make sure you know who has access to it.

Migration Solutions are experienced data centre designers, builders and operators who are proud to be impartial and vendor neutral. To find out more about the services we offer visit

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