Fightingto Improve Privacy
Fightingto Improve Privacy
Theadvancement in technology has brought about very many conveniences.People are now able to exchange information and transact businessesover distances within a very short time. Technology has opened theworld to a place where no barriers exist when it comes tocommunication and the conduct of business (Allen, 2011). While makinguse of these advances, there are serious challenges posed by thelatest technological improvements. This essay aims at showing howprivacy has been affected by technology and the efforts people aretaking to ensure their personal data is not exposed to abuse.
Forpeople who do not understand, there are those who could make use ofyour personal details. Criminals and fraudsters areobviouslyinterested in your data so that they can gain access to yourbank accounts and make withdrawals. People close to you such as aspouse can also do some spying if they want to get informationaboutyour infidelity (Dahl, 2009). Government agencies may beinterested in your private activities in an effort to enhancesecurity in your area. Marketers desire to have your personal detailsto use them in their sales campaigns.
Accordingto psychologists, human beings value their privacy and maintaininghealthy boundaries is important. People will reveal details aboutthemselves in stages as they develop closeness with the other person.Today, the boundaries may not be inexistence any more. As you use theinternet and other online facilities, you leave traces that can bereconstructed and reveal more about yourself. It is now moredifficult to keep anything secret (Friedman, 2006). Many people havehad their private lives exposed to the whole world through socialmedia and other platforms. To many people the issue of privacy doesnot have much weight. This is indicated in their willingness to partwith their personal details to the point of not bothering to enquirehow the details will be used.
Whilemost of the people are really concerned about the loss of theirprivacy, their actions reflect somethingcompletely different. Themain loss of privacy is the conduct of people themselves. Many ofthose who use the internet are not aware how their conduct has aneffect on their privacy (Brey, 2005). For instance, marketers makeoffersto prospective customers in exchange of their personal data.When offered such an opportunity, only a few individuals turn themdown. The marketers ask for you crucial details such as SocialSecurity number in exchange of offers you can do without. Giving yourpersonal details to a marketer may not seem like much, but it canhave serious effects later. The need to guard your confidentialitymay be unclear to you until your privacy is intruded.
Thethreat of privacy loss will continue to increase. People who intendto keep their identities private will find this to be a real test.Determining the amount privacy you would like to get is difficult.Another challenge is to know when you have lost your privacy and tomeasure the extent of the loss. It is notpossible to put a figure onany privacy one loses (Evans, 2009). Sometimes there may be nothingharmful with your actions, but consequences will be suffered whereone is not careful.
Toemphasize on this point, consider the amount of junk mail you havereceived in your inbox. A large percentage is spam that you neversubscribed for. This may have originated from a point when you gaveyour email to some website. Your address may have landed in the handsof people who trade in such data (Brey, 2005). It will be the samecase with your other contact details. There are commercial datamerchants who gather unlisted phone numbers and trade in them likeany other commodities. As it is evident, privacy is complicated anddifficult to understand. This has made it difficult for thegovernment and legislators to find ways to solve the problemsassociated with privacy loss.
Theuse of technology is certainly beneficial but has negative effects onthe livesof the people in all aspects. On a personal level, thedignity of a person is eroded and the right of privacy is taken away.Instead of being a solution to the problems in the lives of people,using technology expose the users to even more serious challenges.Although technology is used to process personal information, manyfeel it does not guarantee the safety they would expect (Allen,2011). Economically, a new kind of business has emerged. Thisbusiness is involved in buying and selling personal information.Technology is very dynamic and changes are witnessed every moment.Therefore, it is hard to for legislation to move at the speed oftechnological changes. As soon as a new law has been enacted, therewill be a new development in technology that will render the lawirrelevant.
Itis no secret that the streets have video cameras that are installedas a security measure. On the internet there are cookies all over.These are devices used to monitor the actions of the people. Thepublic exist without being bothered that someone is peeking at whatthey are doing. When you send messages through email, the informationshould be for a particular recipientonly. However, those messages youconsider private can be exposed to other people in an instant. Youjust do not know who could take a look at your conversations on theinternet and use that information for their own benefit (Dahl, 2009).Young people post photos of their party lives. These photos can beused against them when searching for a job. The number of people whocannot be found on Google is getting smaller every day. This meansdetails about you and what you do can be easily gathered online.Therefore, you have nothing to hide from the rest of the world. Itwill take just one moment or event to bring details of what you dosecretly for the public to see.
Whileno one would like to be spied on, the use of technology is necessaryin cases where the issue of safety is a concerned. There is nothingwrong if government agencies make use of technology to arrestsituations that threaten national safety. Terrorism is a real concernglobally and technology can help security agencies thwart any threatsfrom terrorists (Evans, 2009). Moves to counter terrorism may involvegathering of personal data of persons who are a threat to security.However, technology alone may not solve the issues since it can beflawed. It should be used together with other measures to improvesafety all over the world.
Youdo not realize when you have lost your privacy. It just occursto youthat some of your details are out in the public domain. There aremoments when you are not fully focused on what you are doing. At suchmoments, you would give away your details without really caring whathappens to it. People are too busy with their daily lives to be awareof what is actually happening around us (Brey, 2005). In the currentstate of things regarding privacy, the horse has fled. It may have noeffect to try to do something about safeguarding your privacy. A lotof details about you are already out there. You only need to wait forthe moment you will have effects to deal with as they will certainlycome.
Todayyour life is an open secret. Anyone with an interest in your personaldetails can easily have access to them. Despite the challenge ofkeeping our lives secret, there are details that are too personal tolet others know about them. There is still a chance to start devisingways of securing privacy. The main reason why privacy has been lostso easily is because of the attitude of the people (Gentry, 2009).Many of them are not concerned with details they give out. Thedetails being requested seem to be too simple to have any effect ontheir lives. This is a wrong attitude that will have serious effectslater in life.
Itis a fact that technology is becoming more affordable even withimproved capabilities. Many are concerned that technological advanceswill completely erode their privacy. Better technology is mandatoryas a security measure. The people may have to live with the fact thattechnology is necessary to keep them safe and have to accept it.Perhaps the challenges posed by technology on privacy can be solvedtechnologically. History records instances where technology hasenhanced the privacy of internet users (Friedman, 2006). Torsoftwareallows users to use the web and clears anything that mightbetray their identity. Anonymous Web is another option that helpswhistleblowers to pass secret information to journalists.
Technologyshould not be viewed as an avenue of intrusion into privacy. In factthe best way to solve this problem is to have technological deviceshave inbuilt devices to protect privacy. It is impossible to livewithout technology. It is necessary to make life better by improvingefficiency. Consumers should demand that technology firms keepdetails about them safely (Dahl, 2009). The government can have ahand in ensuring this happens by enacting and enforcing laws aimed atsecuring the privacy of the people. Any steps being taken will notbear fruits immediately. There will be challenges on the way and itmight take time before the expected results appear. It will be moredisastrous to give up the fight, than to continue amidst all thechallenges.
Insummary, everyone has a right to live a private life. However,absolute privacy is not possible. The world is facing seriouschallenges in terms of security, which calls for the use of thelatest methods. The people should be alert and stop giving theirdetails without giving it much thought (Allen, 2011). The little bitsyou give here and there are enough for someone to construct crucialinformation about you. As people worry about the effect of technologyon their lives, they should consider ways of securing their privatedetails.
Allen, A., 2011, Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brey, P., 2005, “Freedom and privacy in ambient intelligence”, Ethics and Information Technology, 7(3): 157–166.
Dahl, J. Y., & A.R. Sætnan, 2009, “It all happened so slowly: On controlling function creep in forensic DNA databases”, International journal of law, crime and justice, 37(3): 83–103.]
Evans, N.S., R. Dingledine, & C. Grothoff, 2009, “A practical congestion attack on Tor using long paths”, inProceedings of the 18th conference on USENIX security symposium, Berkeley, CA: USENIX Association, pp. 33–50. [Evans et al. 2009 available online]
Friedman, B., P.H. Kahn, Jr, & A. Borning, 2006, “Value sensitive design and information systems”, inHuman-computer interaction in management information systems: Foundations, P. Zhang & D. Galletta (eds.), Armonk: M.E. Sharp, 4.
Gentry, C., 2009, “Fully homomorphic encryption using ideal lattices”, in Proceedings of the 41st annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing, ACM, pp. 169–178.