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Information Privacy while Using the Internet

The Internet has been the most influential means of communication in the world in the twenty-first century. With the Internet being a swift and secure means of communication, the invention of social media apps that rely on the Internet has also been exposed to the world by the simplicity and affordability of exchanging knowledge and communication. Many users of the Internet do not appear to like getting their personal details revealed to the web. In these social media platforms, the question arises as to whether there is any private information on the Internet today. According to an article in the Washington Post, the use of some tracking devices on the internet in the form of "cookies" that are useful in supporting websites functionalities, can also be used to provide records of how someone uses a site (Merkel). Another threat to information privacy online is the illegal hacking of information of online users, which is possible given the loopholes involved in using the internet.

My Claim

The use of the internet in the twenty-first century has made it challenging to achieve information privacy due to the ease of access to the material on the internet and the steady growth of the use of social media platforms thus the need to develop a policy that validates the lack of information privacy online.

Importance

A lot of research has gone into finding ways to impose privacy of information that is available in online platforms with limited success. According to Lopez, Ray, and Crispo, information privacy in the online space is hard to safeguard as the internet is one large connection of that exists to share information between computers (68). It is quite difficult to protect an internet user and the information that they hold in their computers once they have it connected to the internet. Another challenge in safeguarding information privacy is the rise of social media platforms where users of these platforms share their information freely to the world. Efforts to ensure information privacy exists have failed; therefore, it is only proper to admit that it does not exist in the online space.

Reason 1

The ease at which one can access private information on the internet is quite baffling. Websites can track the locations and the material being used in their domains of the users who visit their web pages, using cookies.

Details

Cookies are data packets that exchange internet user’s information between their browsers and the internet servers for purposes of identifying the user and tracking their access to the server (Steindel 459). The use of cookies enables the website owners to be able to track the locations of their users and the content the access thus they can be able to tell what the online user is doing at any specific time they are online.

Counter-arguments to my reason

The argument raised is that the use of cookies is vital for the functionalities of the websites. Also, the sites that use these cookies notify the online users of their use of cookies to improve the utilities of the website while the user is accessing them.

Rebuttal

It is correct that the use of cookies is beneficial to the users of the websites that access them, the issue, however, lies with the capabilities that the cookies use present to the website administrators and the vulnerabilities concerning the privacy of information that it puts on the online use of the websites.

Reason 2

The use of social media platforms has made it possible for information privacy to become outdated since these platforms allow the users to give their personal information on their websites and the information can be seen by other users of these platforms.

Details

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, have made it possible to have private information accessible to the world since they allow users to give their information to connect with friends and others people. The users of these platforms do not seem to be bothered at all with sharing their private information such as location, cell numbers, schools, pictures and much more, once they sign up to these sites.

Counter-arguments to my reason

These social media sites are voluntary to join, and before a new user can use these sites, they have to agree to the terms and conditions that are given to them. In the terms and conditions, the issue of privacy is highlighted, and thus the user is aware of what they are getting themselves into.

Rebuttal

The use of social media provides the basis of a lack of information privacy for the online user. Despite the terms and conditions to agree to, these documents contain numerous pages, and most of the users that sign up do not look at the information before they sign up. Additionally, the use of social media can be dangerous since there are no restrictions on who can join the sites or vet the reasons they are using these platforms.

Reason 3

Hacking is of information of online users is among the frequent violations of private information access that is increasingly becoming common. Stolfo, Salem, and Keromytis note that hackers are using innovative ways to gain illegal access to networks and computers and invade on private information (126).

Details

The internet user can be coaxed into the trap of hackers who front items such as spam emails and free software on the internet. These things usually contain malware that can track or send information from the online users’ computer to the hackers’ device. Hackers use these methods to steal private information form, online users, that they can access their bank statements, emails, and online accounts.

Counter-arguments to my reason

There are prevention mechanisms that can be used to prevent attacks from hackers while using the internet. The use of firewalls and antivirus programs assist in avoiding hacking and malware from attacking personal computers (PCs).

Rebuttal

Hacking is increasingly becoming sophisticated as hackers are always finding creative new ways to penetrate networks and access online users' PCs (Stolfo, Salem and Keromytis 126). The hacking and malware prevention and detection tools are costly to purchase thus discourage the users of computers, compared to the internet use that only requires an internet connection. Without realizing the exposure to private information, they put themselves into internet users often try out new free software and open spam emails.

Connections

The use of the internet has made it impossible to ensure that information privacy is upheld due to the various possible loopholes present with the access of the internet. If a user is online, they can access several servers that provide them with the necessary information they require, but at the same time, their computer can also be located as much as they can access other networks. Implementing a policy that supports the lack of information privacy online will be beneficial in ensuring that the internet user is liable for the damages that occur to them while using the internet. Liability needs to be attached solely to the internet user since it is possible to safeguard one's machine against prying, by use of firewalls and antivirus programs that are available in the market.

Conclusion

The use of the internet has undoubtedly made it difficult to achieve information privacy due to the ease of access to the material and the frequent use of social media platforms that make it easy to gain access to the online users' private information. As much as there is the need for information privacy, it is quite impossible to be enforced, which only creates the challenge of liability falling to the innocent whenever confidentiality of information is violated. Thus, there is the need to develop a policy that validates the lack of information privacy online to protect the providers of internet services and make it possible for online users to invest in safeguarding their information should they wish to have it private.

Work Cited

Lopez, J., I. Ray, and B. Crispo. "Risks and Security of Internet and Systems: 9th International Conference." CRiSIS (2014): 27-29.

Merkel, Robert. "There’S No Such Thing As Privacy On The Internet Anymore." Washington Post, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/28/theres-no-such-thing-as-privacy-on-the-internet-anymore/?utm_term=.47324904908e.

Steindel, Tracy A. "A Path Toward User Control of Online Profiling." Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev. 17 (2010).

Stolfo, Salvatore J., Malek Ben Salem, and Angelos D. Keromytis. "Fog computing: Mitigating insider data theft attacks in the cloud." Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW), 2012 IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 2012.

July 24, 2021

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