THERE are generations of youngsters who will regret putting too much information on social media such as Facebook, says former top police officer Colin Tansley.
In years to come those youngsters may not be offered jobs on the basis of what potential employers find when they probe their backgrounds on the internet, he claims.
He said: ‘I think there are generations growing up with Facebook and putting stuff up on Facebook and in 10 years time they will regret doing that.
‘I know there are certain employers whose first port of call when they receive CVs is to look at Facebook. and see what that person is about.’
Speaking about how would-be bosses check out applications he said: ‘One of the mistakes people often make is putting their life up on social media such as Facebook with photographs and they chatter about their current job which can be inappropriate.
‘I don’t have a Facebook account because I don’t want to share my personal life with the whole of the world.’
He agreed that people could be ruining their job prospects because of what is on social media sites.
He referred to a film clip used for training purposes about a girl who goes for a job and says she is a friendly, bubbly sort of person. But the potential employers turn her down because they discover she has been involved in ‘cyber bullying.’
Mr Tansley, who once held senior positions with West Yorkshire and Cleveland police forces and is now an independent internet investigator and trainer, was in the island for a two day course on internet investigations.
The full-up course was organised by island business Expol which is run by former Isle of Man detectives David Bell and Rob Kinrade.
Speaking to Business News during a coffee break at the Regency Hotel in Douglas, Mr Tansley said the course was designed to demonstrate how to effectively and safely conduct online research and to assist companies in investigations, research and due diligence enquiries.
Asked if some companies were ignorant of the internet Mr Tansley said there were and this was often more so with smaller firms.
He said the internet was an effective way of gathering intelligence and information and could not be ignored.
Mr Tansley said that companies could build up 80 per cent of the information they need on people just by a few clicks on the internet.
‘This stuff is in the palm of your hand.’
Mr Tansley advised that if people put their CV online they should be wary. ‘Your personal life is over here and your business life is over there. In my opinion never the two will meet. If you mix up the two it becomes risky. Put a firewall between the two. So many people fail at the first hurdle on that one.
‘With my own CV I put my name and that I’m UK based and that’s it.
‘I’ve a business email address.
‘If you put a CV online remove personal information such as your address, phone number or your personal email address.’
Mr Tansley said he knew of police officers who have posed on Facebook in their uniform. This is not a good idea. They will never be undercover officers.’ He added that there are now ‘bits of software that can biometrically scan faces. Google have got this - facial recognition software.’ Mr Tansley said company employees can do a lot more about protecting their computer security and pointed to a report which indicated the word Password was still the most popular password for many. Too many people were also leaving their details on yellow note paper under key boards.
He also spoke of how security assessors would carry out various tests to check the vulnerability of businesses. For instance testers had scattered company car parks with USB pen drives. It was surprising how many employees picked them up and then stuck them in their machines.
‘They could have been loaded with malware or viruses,’ said Mr Tansley.
He said there was a reluctance in some companies to give employees access to social media because they were scared of it .
‘But it won’t go away. It’s like having a guard dog without using it. It is about understanding the medium and the risks. If you ignore it then you are missing a trick.’
It was Mr Tansley’s first visit to the Isle of Man. He said it was vital that companies and businesses learn how to navigate and search on the web in an effective manner. He likened internet security knowledge to going up a mountain with a map and a compass.
He said it was important people in business understand what they are doing when they carry out investigations. ‘You have to understand what you are doing because if you don’t you can compromise things.’
He stressed there were many positive aspects to social networking but it paid to be careful about what is left online.
Former Manx police officers David Bell and Robert Kinrade of Expol said they were delighted with the success of this, their first course on internet investigations.
Twelve people took part in the course including three delegates who travelled across from the UK to take part.
Mr Bell said: ‘This training cuts across the whole range of industries. Included among those here are people from local authorities, the finance sector and the corporate service sector.
Future courses are booked for November, January, February and March. And Expol are planning to unveil details of a course on anti-money laundering soon.