The secret to secure messaging

Nearly half of students responding to an informal survey at the Michigan State University Union said they have begun using encrypted messaging applications as a result of the increased awareness of online tracking and monitoring from advertisers, business and the government.

Wayback Machine crawl

Wayback Machine archives websites for over 20 years

Have you ever wished you could hop in an Internet time machine to see how the web or specific websites have developed over the years? Kelly Stec, an MSU doctoral student studying education policy, researches how political think tanks’ stances on legislation has changed throughout time. Stec, who is also a legislative assistant at the Michigan State House of Representatives, knew that in order to study this evolution, she needed to dig around the internet to find out how lawmakers felt about bills when they were initially introduced. There was a problem though: what if lawmakers deleted posts that they changed their mind about? Lucky for Stec, her advisor recommended she check out a website called the Wayback Machine to help with her research.

What happens when you delete a post from Facebook?

For social media users, there may come a time when they’d like to erase an embarrassing post, which sites like Facebook say is possible. “If you post something and later decide you don’t want people to see it, you can delete it,” Facebook says in its Privacy Basics section of the site. But once something’s “deleted,” what happens? When a user deletes something, Facebook is able to ensure users will not see the deleted post, but that doesn’t mean Facebook destroys all traces of that post completely, or that Facebook cannot retrieve it. “In modern, big cloud infrastructures, they basically never delete anything,” said Ken Birman, a computer science professor at Cornell who does research on cloud computing.

States take social media privacy into their own hands

In the U.S., 25 states have passed some sort of legislation aimed at protecting social media users from having to provide their online accounts to potential employers. Washington D.C. and Guam have also passed similar legislation.

The naked truth: Nudes and social media

This past March, Frankie Salamida agreed to babysit the social media account of a vacationing high school friend. “My friend was on spring break and texted me and said, ‘Will you keep my Snapchat streaks going for me?’” Salamida, 20, said. “Being a good friend, I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ So I’m on her phone, Snapchatting people for her, and I’m pretending to be her.”

Amidst holiday festivities, Salamida, a political science pre-law major at Michigan State University, decided to test her luck on St. Patrick’s Day by sending a naked photo to another Snapchat user through her friend’s account. “I get the idea that I should send a kid we went to high school with a nude, thinking it’s from this girl, but it’s really me, without her knowing,” Salamida said.