Internet Privacy Essay, Research Paper
Why should I worry about privacy and security?
I’m not a criminal or a terrorist. I’ve got nothing to hide. These are
things that most people think. They also believe the internet is much more
secure and that their personal information is only available to them, whereas
this is actually quite wrong.
There are more reasons to want to protect
your privacy than can be named. The important principal is that you have
a right to privacy as long as that right is used within the bounds of the
law. Seeking privacy should not make you feel guilty. Privacy should be
expected, and demanded. The reasons might be as simple as preserving your
right to express unpopular opinions without being subjected to persecution,
or as serious as communicating sensitive business information, revealing
credit card numbers, legal discussions with your accountant, or hiding
your true identity from a secret government. Regardless of your reasons,
privacy is your right. Contrary to what some governing bodies might want
the public to believe, not all those concerned with security and privacy
are hackers or terrorists.
The internet provides one of the easiest
communications tools ever afforded by mankind. It is quick, convenient,
cheap….and as insecure as it is quick, convenient, and cheap. A message
sent many months ago may remain on an ISP’s server or as a backup, and
can be easily retrieved by anyone who knows how to do so. This is information
which you personally have deleted for a reason – not to be accessed
by someone else after you have finished with it. There have been times
where information has be retrieved up to 6 months after, and used in a
court case as evidence.
It can be quite simple for someone to intercept
your messages or information if they want it. This may be just an administrator
of your ISP or your office network. Or it might be a business competitor,
legal foe, or government agency, with much more serious intentions.
There are an abundant means available to
protect online privacy. Some are large and complex while others are extremely
simple. The important fact is that some methods are almost totally
lacking in security while others are practically bulletproof.
It is an all too common misconception that
anonymity equals privacy. Anonymity and privacy may be related, but their
significance is quite different.
Do you wonder what other people know about
you? Cookies are available on certain websites, and these small files are
placed on your computer and record data which most often contains information
that the user would rather be kept secure. Information including passwords,
credit card numbers and where the user has been.
There are hundreds of web-based email services
that appear to offer anonymity. Few really do. These include names such
as Hotmail, Yahoo, Excite and many more that could be listed. In each of
these cases, the user is allowed to create a personal username that he
uses for his messages. Unfortunately, through sign-up procedures and logging,
it is amazingly simple to determine your ISP, and even your true identity,
when you use these services.
For the obvious reason, there is no point
in wasting space dealing with those types of services. As the user,
it is your responsibility to know that your internet anonymity is only
yourself with the usage and privacy policies of any E-mail or internet
service you consider using.
Who wants to know what you’re saying? It
might be a nosey fellow employee, your employer, your ISP, a competitor,
friend, or legal team. Regardless of who wants to, it is remarkably easy
for someone else to read what you write. It is common sense to protect
information that you don?t want others to know, and people should ensure
that they go to some lengths to do so.
There are a large number of nonprofit organizations
that specialize in protecting your rights to privacy. It is time well spent
to visit these sites, as you can learn what the current laws are, what
is being proposed, and what is being done to protect privacy.