Are the Internet Users Losing their Privacy?
Information is a significant asset in modern digital era. In fact, information is widely transmitted over the internet, and this transmission is open to connected users. Thus, failing to secure it can lead to data intrusion and possible information loss. For instance, the company’s crucial information that holds the private date of its staff will be compromised by potential hackers, which will lead to the breach of confidentiality and loss of the organization’s pride. However, despite the fact that insecure data and unsafe automated devices threaten everyone’s privacy, their secrecy and security are usually overlooked (Bygrave, 2014). Thus, information lacks privacy in the internet age if the existing institutions fail to adopt effective safety approaches to fight potential threats. Hence, legal practitioners in the area of privacy have sought to prevent individuals from breaching the security of various institutions, while defense advocates have sought to safeguard such agencies from data intruders. Nevertheless, nowadays, web users lose information secrecy. The current paper outlines the reasons why the internet users lose their privacy in the cyberspace era and explains how it affects the freedom of speech principle to safeguard personal confidential data.
Why the Internet Users Lose Privacy in the Internet Age
The primary cause for abandoning privacy is that internet users are not concerned with the assessment of incurred future costs, associated with disclosed data. In fact, the analysts at the Pew Research Center emphasize that the majority of current web users find it difficult to establish strategic decisions regarding their secrecy choices (Angwin, 2014). Precisely, they users are aware that that they could experience future costs, associated with the loss of confidentiality of their information, but apparently, they have opted not to think about them. Even the simple acts of providing one’s mobile contacts to a sales clerk may appear harmless to the extent that these customers do not dispute about it. However, this simple action of revealing one’s private information can initiate a cycle of silent events that can be used to take advantage of client’s private information. For instance, this private data can be further assessed, sorted, saved, and distributed for commercial purposes without customer’s consent (Bygrave, 2014). Therefore, web users do not care about the analysis of future costs of disclosing their data.
Another compelling reason is that current internet users hold no places to hide because with the advancement of the web technologies, the once private information is no longer kept secret. Substantially, web users now know that there are smart video cameras and web cookies everywhere on internet platforms (Angwin, 2014). In fact, the activity of any user is closely monitored by the legal data analysts, for instance, the Justice Department. With this approach, web users can create multiple emails and instant messages expecting that such private information will not be seen by any party. Nevertheless, this confidential data becomes accessible to unauthorized parties because they can possibly track web cookies. Since they can contain private information, sent by the web browser to the server, various hackers can invade them to acquire the user’s secret data (Bygrave, 2014). What is more, the government surveillance programs closely monitor the data of American web users and their communication patterns with the aim of combatting cybercrime and terrorism. Therefore, American internet users have no place to hide in the digital world.
At the same time, internet users are more inclined to data convenience that information privacy. Most importantly, a survey conducted by Gigya Corporation has indicated that many web users abandon their privacy in exchange of convenience (Tsukayama, 2014). Notably, the institutions that allow clients to utilize their social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn access details, have observed that such users anticipate the worst when their private data is revealed to the company. However, these web users are still ready to embrace convenience, including free video streaming, email, and free social media above the issues of privacy. The analysis also reveals that while a significant number of web users mistrust their social networks, they are still ready to apply access credentials from such sites (Tsukayama, 2014). Consequently, convenience is considered a more suitable choice for web browsing than information privacy.
How Data Privacy Affects the Freedom of Speech Principle/the Press
Data protection is essential for the crucial application of the principles of freedom of speech and the press. Particularly, electronic communication is an efficient method for delivering information across the internet platform. With this approach, lack of freedom of expression would cause the press to be unable to establish their real personality and impunity that data privacy seeks to safeguard (Solove & Schwartz, 2015). In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), the institution responsible for processing data of web users must be accountable for abiding by the accountability principle. Therefore, all online agencies should uphold the UNDHR and the freedom of speech principle to maintain their users’ data protection.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Data privacy is important in internet communication because it maintains information confidentiality. Nonetheless, the failure to secure such private data can lead to data encroachment and possible loss of information. Moreover, cyber users lose data privacy on the internet, and they do not focus on the future costs assessment of the data they unveil. These users also lack places to hide because of the spread of the internet. The web users also opt for data convenience instead of information privacy. Notably, data protection is essential for the key application of freedom of speech and press. The accountable institutions should provide greater clarity to internet users in the handling of their private data. At the same time, governments should also account for the digital laws and regulations to combat data invasion and theft. Network administrators should also monitor web systems to identify possible threats. Hopefully, the adoption of UNDHR and data privacy approaches as well as the application of these recommendations will enhance data protection among internet users.
Angwin, J. (2014). Dragnet nation: A quest for privacy, security, and freedom in a world of relentless surveillance. New York, NY: Times Books.
Bygrave, L. A. (2014). Data privacy law: An international perspective. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Rainie, L., Kiesler, S., Kang, R., & Madden, M. (2013). Anonymity, privacy, and security online. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/05/anonymity-privacy-and-security-online/
Solove, D. J., & Schwartz, P. M. (2015). Information privacy law (5th ed.). New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Tsukayama, H. (2014, October 7). People care more about convenience than privacy online. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/10/07/people-care-more-about-convenience-than-privacy-online/?utm_term=.c869ce0f3531