Technology and Threat to Privacy Abstract

TechnologyandThreatto Privacy

Abstract

Technologicaladvanceshavesubjectedtherightsto privacyto significantthreats.Personaldetailscan beeasilyaccessedon thesocialmedia sites,especiallyfortheusers whodonot knowhowto usesecuritysettings.Surveillancecameras are installedto enhancesecurityin strategicplaces,buttheycapturethepicturesandvideo without their knowledge,which breachestheir rightsto privacy.Themajorityof online shoppersare willingto exchangetheconvenienceof shoppingonline with their privateinformation.Cloudcomputing reducesthecostof technology infrastructureby ensuringthattheseresourcesareshared,butthedata storedby cloudserviceproviders can be accessedby authorizedpersons,includingtheownersof thecloud.Theeffortsappliedby groupsandindividualsto fightfortherightsto privacywill failbecauseof thehighlevels of illiteracy,highrateof technological advances,andothers donot careabout their privacy.

Keywords:Privacy, technology advances,online shopping,cloudcomputing.

TechnologyandThreatto Privacy

Technologicaladvanceshaveaffectednearlyallaspectsof humanlife.Althoughthe technologyhas manybenefits(suchas improvedconnectivity andimprovedefficiencyat placesof work),ithas increasedtheriskof losingprivacy.There are severalmethods(suchas encryption) that can be usedto reducetherateof infringementof therightto privacy.However,theeffortsto reducedata theftare thwartedby certainbehaviorsadoptedby users of moderntechnology. Forexample,themajorityof online shoppersdonot playtheir rolein ensuringthatthesitestheyuseto dotheir shoppinghaveeffectiveprivacypolicies(Mulpuru, 2013). Thispaperwill discussvariouswaysin which technology threatensprivacy,groupsandindividualsfightingforonline privacy,andfactorsthat will makethegroupsfightingforprivacyfail.

Howtechnological advancesthreatenprivacy

Socialmediaandusers’ privacy

Socialmedia is irresistibleto manypeoplein thepresentworldbecauseitprovidesa platformon which peoplecan shareinformationirrespective of their geographicallocations.However,users of thesocialmedia sitesare at a higherriskof losingtheir privateinformationto untargeted characters.In mostcases,users of thesocialmedia sitesare supposedto providetheir personalinformationin orderto sign-up andusethesesites.Althoughsocialmediaownershavesomesettingsthattheir customerscan useto preventtheaccessibilityof their informationby thepublic,itis onlya smallfractionof theusers whoknowshowto usethesesettings.Researchhas shownthat68 % of theFacebook users are not awareof theprivacysettingsandleaveall their postings to publicaccess(Bullas, 2012). Thisimpliesthattheinformationposted by users whohavenot engagedtheprivacysettingsandpersonaldetailstheyusedto sign-up can beaccessedby anyone, includingtheunregistered users.

Surveillancecameras andtheprivacyconcerns

Surveillancecameras are partof themoderntechnological advancesthat are beingusedby thegovernmentagenciesandownersof strategicbuildingsto enhancesecurity.Thesecameras areinstalledin strategiclocationsfrom theretheycan captureactivitiestakingplace.In mostcases,peoplewhovisitsuchlocationsare unawareof thefactthattheir movementsare beingmonitored(Dharapak, 2014). Securityis critical,especiallyin themodernsocietywherethreatsofterroristattackhaveincreased,butexcessivesurveillanceis an assaulton privacy.Althoughsecuritycameras wereintroducedwith theobjectiveof controllingcrimeandprovidingtrafficsafety,thistechnology has beenadoptedby companiesthat useitto monitortheir employees.Theargumentscitedin favorof surveillancein workplaces includetheneedto protectemployeesandcrimeprevention.However,theendresultis thatthecameras haveerodedtheprivacythat employeeshaveenjoyedin thepast.

Onlineshoppingandtheriskof losingprivacy

Onlineshoppinghas becomea mainstream activityin somepartsof theworld,especiallyin thedevelopedworld.Itis predictedthatonlineshoppingin the U.S. willgrowby 9.5 % annuallyby theyear2018, whilethatof theEuropean marketwill growby 13 %, reaching$ 414 billion and$ 262 billion respectively(Mulpuru, 2013).Thesedevelopmentscan beattributedto easyaccessto internet, cheapgadgetsthat allowpeopleto usetheinternet,andsoftware that supportonline transactions.Althoughthesetechnological advanceshaveboostedbusiness,online shoppersare expectedto exchangetheir privateinformationwith theconveniencethat isassociatedwith shoppingfrom one’s expedientlocationandtime.

Onlineshoppingfacilitatesthelossof privacyin two majorways.First,online shoppersare supposedto submittheir privateinformation(includingname,IDnumbers,andcreditcardnumbersamong otherpersonaldetails)to theonline merchants,whoare freeto keeptrackof thatdata.An online transactioncannot be successfulunless theshopperprovidespersonalinformation.Surprisingly, studiesshowthatabout 51 % of theonline shoppersfeelcomfortablewhentheir favoriteonline retailers keeptrackof their personalinformationto informtheir subsequentpurchases(Fiegerman, 2012). Thisimpliesthatthemajorityof theonline shoppersare awareof thefactthatretailers haveaccessto thepersonaldetailsthat theytypeon theonline shoppingsites.Secondly,online shoppinghas increasedthethreatof identitytheft.Currently, about 75 % of theonline shoppersare worriedthattheir creditcarddetailsmight landin thehandof cybercriminalswhomight usethesepersonaldetailsto stealtheir money(Gray, 2014). Therefore,technological advanceshavemadeshoppingeasy,buttheyhaveputtheshoppers’privacyat stake.

Cloudcomputing andprivacy

Theconceptof cloudcomputing has gainedpopularityin thelasttwo decades. Cloudcomputing facilitatessharingof IT resourcesandinfrastructure,thusreducingthecostof usingtechnology. Althoughcloudcomputing reducestheupfront spending, itis associatedwith seriousprivacyconcerns.Users of cloudcomputing serviceslosecontrolover their data. Data that is storedby cloudcomputing providers can becompromisedproviders orcompetitiveenterprises that are customersof thesameprovider(Gartner, 2015). Manycustomersof thecloudcomputing provider firms haveraisedconcernsabout thelackof transparencyon when,how,andwheretheir dataisprocessed.Thisis inconsistentwith therequirementsof dataprotectionwhereclientsaregiventherightsto knowhowtheir datais handled.In addition,providers of cloudcomputing serviceshavethecapacityto dodata miningandanalyzetheclients’data.

Althoughmanyproviders of cloudcomputing servicesclaimthatthedata that isstoredin their infrastructureis encrypted, theconnectionbetween theclientandprovider may not be adequatelyprotected.Thisis becausecloudcomputing is a typeof servicethat must beaccessedlocally.Thedatatransferlifeissubjectedto riskby DNS spoofing, Denial-of-Service, andeavesdropping attacks(Gartner, 2015). Thisimpliesthatthesecurityof transferlinesbetween theclientandtheserviceprovider cannot beguaranteed.In mostcases,cloudcomputing is dependenton telecommunication networksthat areprovidedseparately.Thisimpliesthattheroleof transferringthedata from thecloudis givento a thirdparty,meaningthatthecloudcomputing provider cannot guaranteethesecurityof thedata.

Effortsappliedin fightingforprivacyin thedigital andinformationeras

Groupefforts

Currently,there are three majorpublicinterestorganizationsthat are fightingagainst technologies that threatentheprivacyof thepublicandtheusers of thosetechnologies. Techfreedom is a publicinterestgroupthat usesthelibertarian perspectiveto fightagainst thegovernment’ssnooping in thecitizens’privatelocationinformationandcommunication(Pinchefsky, 2012). Techfredom havebeenpushingforreformofseverallawsandpoliciesthat increasethevulnerability of thepublicandtheusers of technology. Someof theselawsincludetheElectronic Communication Privacy Act, privacyregulations,andthefourth amendment.TechFreedom plansto pushforthesereformsby conductingresearchthat will indicatethecostandbenefitsof performingregulations(Pinchefsky, 2012).

PublicKnowledge is anotherpublicinterestgroupthat pushesforfocuseson privacyissuesrelatedto communicationplatformsandintellectualproperty.Technological advancementhas renderedmostof theprivacyandcopyright lawsandpoliciesirrelevant(Pinchefsky, 2012). Thisnecessitatesforlegalreformsin orderto ensurethatthelawshavethecapacitytoprotecttherightsto privacyof thepublicin thedigital era.

TheCenter forDemocracy andTechnology is alsoa publicinterestorganizationthat seeksto ensurethattheinternet is innovative, open,andfree.Thisorganizationpushesfortheprotectionof consumers’privacyon issuesrelatedtothe internetarchitecture,copyright, andthestandardproxy(Pinchefsky, 2012). CDT addressestheseissueson thesideof thegovernmentsurveillanceandonthesideof theconsumerof technology. CDT usestwo differentapproachesto fightforprivacyprotection.First,theorganizationusesits resourcesandcollaborateswith otherorganizationsin orderto identifyinnovative solutionsthatcan addressinternet-relatedchallenges(Pinchefsky, 2012). Secondly,CDT seeksthehelpof thecriminaljudicialsystem,especiallytheSupreme Court, in strikingdown lawsthat donot protectprivacyadequately.CDT has alsoinitiateda programthat will facilitatecollaboration among expertsfrom South Asia, South America, andEastern Europewhowill dopeer-to-peer assessmentof policyandlegalissuesaffectingtherelationshipbetween technology andprivacy.

Individualeffortsin thefightagainst theinfringementof privacy

Apartfromthe groupandorganizational contributionin thefightforprotectionof privacy,there are manyindividualswhohavetriedwithinthereachto advocatefortherespectof privacyamidst thechallengesassociatedwith thetechnological advancement.Daniel Weitzeris a technology expertanda formerdeputyof chieftechnology officerat theWhite House, whohavejoinedthecampof professionalsadvocatingfora free,butsafeinternet. Witter has beenquotedstatingthatprivacycan beenhancedwhilefacilitatinga freeflowof informationby strengtheningtheexistingprivacylaws(Liebelson, 2013). Alotofindividualshavedecidedto fightfortheir privacythrough thejudicialsystem.Forexample,in Stewart v. Yahoo Incorporation, theplaintiff madeclaimsof theft,stalking, andtrespassingagainst Yahoo that usedcookiesto accomplishthesetypesof infringements(NSW Society, 2014). Thisshowsthatboth theorganizationsandindividualusers of themoderntechnology havetheresponsibilityto protecttheir privacy.

Whyindividualsandgroupswill not withthe fightagainst thelossof privacy

Althoughdifferentpublicinterestgroupsandindividualmembersof thesocietyhavedemonstratedtheir interestin fightingfortherestof therightsto privacyin thedigital era,there are three factorsindicatingthattheywill not succeed.First,themajorityof users of differenttypesof technology donot careabout theimpactof thesetechnologies on their privacy.Astudyinvestigatingthebehaviorof online shoppersindicatedthatabout 70 % of them donot readtheprivacystatementof their favoriteonline retailmerchantsbefore usingtheir sites(Grudzinski, 2013). Themajorityof thosewhoreadtheprivacypoliciesareagedbetween 18 and24 years.Thisimpliesthatmostof thosewhoreadtheprivacypoliciesin schools,whiletheworkingclassthat composesa biggerproportionof buyersdonot bother.Thismeansthattheeffortsappliedto ensurethattherightsto privacyareprotectedwill not succeedas longas theusers of technology continuewith the“don’tcareattitude”.

Secondly,thelackof awarenessabout online vulnerability andprotectivemeasuresis a commonplacechallengethat providesa suitablegroundforonline privacybreach.Lackof awarenessis commonevenin thedevelopedcountries.Forexample,researchhas shownthatabout 21 % of Canadians havenorinformationabout online threats(Bullas, 2012). Asimilarstudyindicatedthatabout 60-68 % of thePortuguese youthssharetheir passwordssince theyare not awareof thefactthatsuchpracticescan resultin thetheftof privateinformation(Reis, Ribeiro, Lopes &amp Correia, 2013).Within suchlevels of lackof awarenessabout therisksassociatedwith online transactions,thechangeof laws,policies,courtrulings,andtheavailability of thepublicinterestgroupswill not makeanychange.

Third,technology is advancingat a highrate,which rendersmostof theprivacylawsirrelevant.Microsoft Corporation associatestherapidincreasein casesof infringementof privacyrightsto (Smith, 2015). Therateat which thelawsare beingreformedto addressemergingchallengesis slowcomparedto therateof technological advancement.Consideringlegalreformsis to be themosteffectiveapproachtoaddressingtechnological challengesrelatedto online privacyis not adequatebecausetheywill getobsoletewithin a shorttime.Thismeansthattheeffortsof thepublicinterestgroupsto pushforlegalreformswill not succeed.

Conclusion

Thepublicinterestgroupsandindividualcitizenshaveexpressedtheir determinationto fightfortherespectof rightsto online privacy,buttheir effortswill not succeed.Thehighrateat which technology is advancinghas continuallyincreasedtheriskof losingprivateinformation.Someof thetechnologies that havea directeffecton online privacyincludethesocialmedia,surveillancecameras, online shopping,andcloudcomputing. Mostof thepublicinterestgroupsthat fightagainst infringementof therightsto online privacyfocuson lawreforms.Thesegroupsbelievethatthecurrentlawsare outdatedandcannot addressthecurrentchallenges.However,technology has beenadvancingat a fasterrate,which impliesthatchangingthelawmay not be sufficient.In addition,thelackof awarenessabout therisksof online transactionscoupledwith the“don’tcareattitude”will rendertheeffortsto reduceinfringementof therightsto online privacyineffective.

References

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