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UK Social Networking Users Wary About Online Privacy Issues

A poll carried out by the Press Complaints Commission showed that nearly 80 percent of social networking users have expressed great concern about the possibility that the press could use details stored online in news articles.

Almost 90 percent of those questioned want to have guidelines describing what exactly the media could use which could mean more stringent rules in the way the press uses data available on individuals gathered from social networking sites, including personal details and photos.

Furthermore, two out of five people aged between 16 and 24 who had used social networking websites like Myspace or Facebook said that they knew someone who had been "embarrassed" by content distributed or posted without their express agreement.

The PCC chairman, Sir Christopher Meyer, argued that Social networking marked a huge cultural change in the way in which people communicate and that personal information is being put into the public domain on an unprecedented scale.

Recent events from the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to the latest London Tube parties have shown how easy it is for the press to have access to personal data stored on pages on Social Networking Sites.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.