I’m worried. I’m worried because cyber crime is on the rise. I’m worried because corporate and public sector bodies are gathering more and more information about us all whilst at the same time becoming more and more blas√© about keeping it secure.

I’m worried because data about us is being transmitted and exported to who knows where and for who knows what purpose?

But all of this can be managed. We can and do legislate on how information is used, processed and accessed. We can implement security controls, we can test security and we can educate staff. We just need to be more willing to do so.

No, what really has me worried is what we are doing to our kids. We are bringing up a new generation who will never truly know privacy. A new generation who will live their lives publicly, in an online world.

Whilst some may say this isn’t a problem, I beg to differ. We are all far too willing and quick to judge others, and when we can search a person’s entire existence at the touch of a button we can discover far too much about them.

All of the little things that, in the past, would have been long forgotten can have a serious affect on our futures.

The off the cuff comment, the embarrassing photos from an 18th birthday, a willingness to share a little too much of our opinion with others could all have a serious impact on future career prospects.

Not to mention the risks involved to us from imparting and sharing too much information including identity theft, financial loss or even legal action.

We need to combat this problem starting right now.

Which is why at Secure Thinking we believe a new strategy is called for.

Firstly we need to educate our young people on the risks posed by their use of social media and being too open and trusting online.

Secondly we need to change our attitude to how we use the Internet, particularly when it comes to using online resources as a way of vetting potential employees.

We need to remember that we were once young, that we have made mistakes but the crucial difference is that our every movement and action wasn’t recorded for all time and the little indiscretions of our past have been long forgotten.

And finally we need to encourage online service providers to allow personal information and actions to be forgotten. Older information should become harder to recall and maybe if not erased then at least become more ‘vague’ with some clever programming which makes dates, times, actions and images lose their clarity, just like real life memories.

Young people today are already finding it harder than ever to get jobs and start careers so maybe we need to help them along and perhaps change our own attitudes, whilst at the same time encouraging the young to be careful of what they do and say in a connected world.

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