Privacy on the Web
Privacy is a situation whereby an individual can work on his or her information in seclusion and without interference in one way or the other from third party. Privacy may also insinuate anonymity especially if a person wants to access a system or website without being identified. However, data experts have revealed that in all these issues and situations, invasion of privacy is protected under privacy laws (Craig & Ludloff 32). Internet and the web host a lot of information and because of this; many information privacy issues have been raised. It has been established that the vast information present on the web warrants security requirements because unauthorized or malicious use of information is undesirable (Edney & Arbaugh 24). Privacy on the web mainly relates to data, information privacy and the relationship that exists between technology use and legal rights it appertains. Therefore, web privacy is the control that one has over his or her data and what is likely to be disclosed.
New Issues or Problems
Web privacy is a murky and complicated issue that has posed several challenges to people from all walks of life. Today, most of life activities and business ventures revolve around online data access and transfer. Considering conflicting interests and misinformation associated with online data processing, many peoples have suffered in one way or the other. For instance, a 20-year-old woman was stalked through the internet and later killed in Seattle in 2013. Moreover, many businesses operating through e-commerce have often been locked in strange stalemates especially if interests are conflicting. Privacy of individual or business data over the web is important because many customers have watched their credit numbers sold or stolen for criminal gains.
Complicated privacy issues have involved criminals who steal information from different websites and use such data for personal gain. Many advertising firms that have in most cases gained from personal information have neglected or assumed complains from their esteemed customers. Data experts have confirmed that there are many people tracking individual movements online, this has brought into the mix many players due to the importance and lucrative nature of personal data (Gellman & Pam 77). Many customers do not always know what goes on over the internet and web with most advertising firms mining a lot of data which are later used for selfish gains. Workers have been reprimanded or even lost their jobs in respect to what they post or comment online. For instance, many employees have often been warned not to post information on social networks and chat-groups that may be visible to current of future bosses.
Privacy over the web has tarnished and poked holes on the morality of hacking. Originally, ethical hacking was an important aspect of organizational safety because information specialists could use to uncover or detect flaws and vulnerabilities that exist in organization’s private network. Such vulnerabilities would then be fixed to ensure continuity and improved services. This is not the case currently because surveys have established that many security researchers have been threatened with indictment for their efforts to expose vulnerabilities in internet and web infrastructure (Lee 14). Consequently, most countries across the world have outlawed hacking as they try to protect privacy of their citizens. However, information technologists believe that cyber-crime laws should take into account ethical hacking and the intention behind such ventures and not the act itself (Lee 22). This is an emerging issue and trend where people use hacking as a way of enriching themselves through stealing money and valuable data used for blackmail. It is important for companies to protect their data and encourage their technologists to effectively detect flaws and fix them appropriately to stop data theft.
Moreover, privacy on the web has raised a new problem called the creep factor. Today, threats to privacy and data theft does not emanate from criminals but from people who are willing to give up their personal data daily through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. Surveys have confirmed that data people give up daily raises many public concerns on how such data is used by social networking companies (Whitman & Herbert 65). For instance, Facebook has been on the forefront in holding vast data about million users and has created the perception and expectation of fair use and protection of privacy. However, in the past few years, users have raised concerns on their privacy in respect to sharing of private data on social sites with third parties and their applications. In addition, users have complained about confusing privacy settings that effectively prevent them from protecting their own privacy over the web. Consequently, users have often complained of bugs that allow third parties to invade their privacy including the ability to post comment to any other user’s wall in Facebook. Hence, creep factor is a social problem that can demonstrate how companies use private data ethically; they must be clear on data use and invasion of privacy and prove that doing so is legal.
Improvements or Solutions to the Problems
Technology based solutions should be put in place to target individual privacy through protection of data stored in personal computers, protection of email system and hiding real identities of users using the web. It is worth pointing that once the identities of users are hidden through network infrastructure most of the people cannot be stalked. It also protects businesses conducting their transactions online from malicious activities. Moreover, a company can protect its users and data from criminals through installations of impeccable firewall which apart from preventing intrusion, manages and monitors network servers for any malicious behavior.
Regulation based solutions may also come in hand in ensuring privacy of users by guaranteeing to them data privacy. These may be in form of mandatory regulations aimed at protecting user privacy over the web. Moreover, many organizations without regulations have always recommended self-regulations which are anchored on self-discipline approach to ensuring safety of data and protection of identities online. For instance, an organization may post privacy statements on their websites to enlighten users on their privacy and how they can ensure their identities and data are safe while on the internet.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google have opened the avenue through which people can post and share literally everything. This has posed a serious privacy issues and as a result requires bold measures to protect users online. Significantly, such sites should ensure that they provide privacy provisions in their settings to allow users to set their privacy to the highest level and thus make it harder for attackers to access personal information. Moreover, companies owning social sites should effectively prevent third party applications and services from accessing private data that may be used by cybercriminals. It has been revealed that they can also enlighten users on online privacy to allow users to rethink their online habits regularly as they use such websites (Salomon 44).
Craig, Terence, and Mary E. Ludloff. Privacy and Big Data. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly, 2011.
Edney, Jon, and William A. Arbaugh. Real 802.11 Security: Wi-fi Protected Access and 802.11i.
Boston [u.a.: Addison-Wesley, 2004. Print.
Gellman, Robert, and Pam Dixon. Online Privacy: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif:
ABC-CLIO, 2011. Internet resource.
Lee, Newton. Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness. New York, NY: Springer, 2013.
Salomon, D. Data Privacy and Security. New York: Springer, 2003. Print.
Whitman, Michael E, and Herbert J. Mattord. Principles of Information Security. Boston, MA:
Course Technology, 2012. Print.