Online Privacy: Is It Really Possible?

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The Internet is a vast world of virtual information. Activities like online shopping and social networking sites have put people in the position to ask themselves how private their own information is among the rest of the Internet. Can the average person completely control their privacy or are some parts of their personal information out of their control? To go along with that, is online privacy the complete responsibility of the individual? I have found that online privacy can be difficult to completely control because of the various types of tracking and third party devices. With that said, although these devices can get private information very subtly, being informed of the information gathering methods can help a person make better decisions for their privacy on the Internet. However, complete privacy is unlikely (Mitchell, 2013).
In the Engineering and Technology Journal, two engineers, Gareth Mitchell and Guy Clapperton, gave their thoughts on both sides of the privacy issue. Is gathering information violating personal privacy? They made their arguments using currency as a metaphor for personal information and online services a product. Mitchell argues the case that giving out personal information is “too high a price to pay” (Mitchell, 2013, p. 26). He says that despite the option to opt out of cookies and certain information, many sites are more covert and make their opt out option less accessible than a pop up asking to opt out. The site makes it hard for the Internet user to say no to being tracked. Mitchell warns the reader to take more consideration into what information they are giving away and that “privacy is not to be taken for granted” (Mitchell, 2013, p. 26). Getting information from the Internet would mean tra...

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..., websites and online marketers do find ways around users’ precautions to gain personal information. There are many people out there who want to use personal information like credit card numbers or addresses to cause harm to others. These cases are the extremely negative ones that people want to and should avoid. The case of companies and third parties tracking browsing history and other information for advertising purposes hover over a finer line between good and bad. For some people, tracking can be considered convenient in terms of shopping for what they are interested in, and others may be uncomfortable with the thought of being tracked without knowing. As stated in the beginning, complete privacy is unlikely, but being informed about the tactics of the Internet can help one protect themselves and others in their care to be as careful and private as possible.
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