Introduction: Online Privacy

I only know the basics about online privacy and would like to know how to protect myself on the web. The internet is a huge place where keeping one’s privacy might be even more complicated than having privacy in real life.

 

Ways That Your Online Privacy Can Be Violated

  1. Data Scraping
  • Someone’s online activity and personal information is collected from their social media accounts, jobs, websites they visit, etc.
  • Research companies are usually the violators of online privacy. After gathering information, these companies sell the data to other companies to help create targeted advertisements.
  1. Facebook Applications Leaking Personal Data
  • Facebook apps have been known to provide information for advertising and tracking companies about their users.
  • These apps give third parties access to profile information about their users without any kind of disclaimer.
  1. Online Social Tracking
  • Social media websites use cookies to track online behavior and interests in order to recognize users on other sites.
  • Tracking tools that social media websites use are mostly targeted at children and teens.

Stats and Examples of Privacy Violation

  • 45% of Americans’ personal information have been exposed by data breaches within the last five years.
  • 70% of Americans feel that their information is less secure than five years ago.
  • 72% of Americans think that their online activity is tracked by advertisers and companies.
  • 52% of Americans have decided against using certain because of how much personal data was being collected.
  • Zoom gave data to third parties without notifying their users.
  • Google went against child privacy laws and gathered biometric data from users on the G Suite for Education platform.
  • Facebook repeatedly misled users and assisted Cambridge Analytica in collecting data for political intentions.

Tools to Protect Your Online Privacy

  • com is website that shows you if your email addresses have been compromised in data breaches.
  • A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can hide your online activity and prevents others from finding your identity or location.
  • Features like remote find and remote wipe can help erase personal information from devices that are stolen or lost.

Interviews

  • Quote from Gary Kovacs about Online Privacy:

“Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn’t be the price we accept for just getting on the internet.”

  • Quote from Oliva Wilde about Online Privacy:

“At one point I thought changing my name might help with privacy, but that was before the Internet.”

  • Quote from Andy Grove about Online Privacy:

“Privacy is one of the biggest problems in this new electronic age.”

Conclusions

Online privacy is more important to me now than before I did this project. As a frequent user of social media and many other sites where my information may at risk, I never realized how important my own privacy was. I didn’t fully understand what was being collected and analyzed about me. I now possess the knowledge that I need to make it much more difficult for internet thieves to get what they want. Privacy means a lot to me personally because my strong online presence can be dismantled and exploited if I don’t take measures to protect myself. Thinking about how companies use and sell information about me for targeted advertising infuriates me and makes me feel watched no matter what I do. Privacy in a world where technology can be used to farm profit from many individuals without their knowledge or consent can be difficult to maintain at times. But with the right resources and awareness, anyone can prevent unwanted eyes from feasting on personal data that’s meant to be kept private.

References

  • “25 Quotes That Will Make You Value Internet Privacy.” Express, 21 Feb. 2018, blog.vpn.express/25-quotes-internet-privacy.html.
  • “Best Online Privacy Quotes Ideas: 10+ Articles and Images Curated on Pinterest: Privacy Quotes, Online Privacy, Quotes.” Pinterest, 23 Jan. 2014, www.pinterest.com/theprivacyguru/online-privacy-quotes/.
  • https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NCSAM_OnlinePrivacy_2020.pdf
  • “Privacy Violations – the Dark Side of Social Media…” BullGuard, www.bullguard.com/bullguard-security-center/internet-security/social-media-dangers/privacy-violations-in-social-media.aspx.
  • Grimes, Roger A. “17 Essential Tools to Protect Your Online Identity, Privacy.” InfoWorld,
  • InfoWorld, 31 Oct. 2016, www.infoworld.com/article/3135324/17-essential-tools-to-protect-your-online-identity-and-privacy.html.
  • “6 Examples of Online Privacy Violation.” CyberNews, 3 Aug. 2020, cybernews.com/privacy/6-examples-of-online-privacy-violation/.
  • Mental Health and Social Media 2018