As the Internet progressively offers more services in terms of online banking, shopping, and job searches, most people prefer to do these tasks online. The Internet has definitely made it easier to do everyday things in life with the click of a button in the comfort of a house. However, there are certain risks associated with releasing a lot of personal information on the Internet. Many Internet service providers and private companies track many movements of users using the Internet. Additionally they can sell that information to other companies, who may share this information with law enforcement or the government.
Internet Service Providers.
Various cases have already occurred where the user’s online privacy has been impeded by the government. Techsavvy, an Internet service provider has been ordered to release names of user’s that have downloaded the movies, “The Hurt Locker” and “Dallas Buyers Club”. Voltage, the movie company of these movies states that they intend to sue the 2000 users that have illegally downloaded these movies. In my opinion this is very problematic and is comparable to a police officer searching a household without a warrant and pressing charges on illegal acts. Although the illegal act is being committed, it is not right that the Internet service providers can release your information to other companies without a notification or request to search the logs of user’s online.
Issues with Hackers and Privacy.
This is just one aspect of the issues that cause worry about the privacy of Internet users. There is also the fear that intelligent computer hackers may hack into a database of credit card information or other important databases and steal the data for personal gain. This has already happened numerous times, where hackers have taken thousands of credit card numbers and sold them for very cheap to other users on the Internet. Even though this is very problematic and has to be dealt with, many people do not care about the issues with Internet privacy until something happens to them personally and they are already affected by these issues. As a result many of the problems are not being addressed and there is not enough progress in terms of privacy in relation to the progress the Internet has made. Additionally there have been numerous private companies that have logged thousands of users information online in an attempt to sell this information off to some other company. It is very troubling to know that many companies that promise honesty and loyalty towards their customers are turning their backs towards them for more profit.
What Individuals should do.
As privacy becomes a bigger problem in society, many people who realize these huge risks have opted to use programs that hide their identity and minimize the tracking that could be done on the user. Since every identity on the internet leaves a trace, there is no way to completely cover your identity. However, the fear of privacy has increased dramatically from 2009 where 33% of Americans were concerned to about 50% and as more people become aware of the privacy issues, solutions will become apparent. In my opinion, these tools that hide your IP and information should be used by everyone, just like an anti virus is the first thing installed on a computer, people should install programs that minimize tracking. It is just as important to stay hidden from unknown users as it is to defend against viruses from unknown files and websites.
The quick progression of the Internet has caused many privacy issues that were not worked out as the progression happened. As a result, individuals have to deal with these privacy issues now and take measures to prevent tracking by other people. These are issues that may not even have set resolutions like viruses, however measures to prevent privacy issues with programs should be an essential aspect of computers that utilize the Internet. Additionally, the customers of Internet service providers should demand that their information is encrypted and never released to anyone for any reason just like many companies promise their customers. This is an essential aspect of a company-consumer relation and privacy of their consumers should definitely not be impeded on in any circumstance. For a change to happen, individuals have to come together and voice their concern for internet privacy in terms of hackers, as well as private companies selling their information. Otherwise, these issues will continue and progressively increase with the Internet.