Privacy of Personal Information on the Internet

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Privacy of Personal Information on the Internet

Introduction

What is privacy?

According to Webster’s Dictionary the following is the definition of privacy [6]:

“Secrecy; or one’s private life or personal affairs”.

A Person has information that he does not want to share or does want to share to with everyone. This is a right of an individual and the violation of this right is called invasion of privacy. The concept of privacy converts to the notion of information in the world of internet. Information in this case might constitute to email address, credit card number, social security number etc.

There are two ways in which personal information can be invaded:

1. Misused: Each person gives out information such as email address, street address on the internet. This information is usually not so harmful to the person. Certain marketing companies get hold of this information from the host company to which the person gives his information to and use this information to sell products to the individual.

2. Stolen: This is a more harmful form of invasion. Information such as credit card numbers are stolen from the user’s computer and hacked into while the user is making transactions on the internet. This can lead to serious financial consequences for the person involved.

How can privacy be invaded on the internet?

Here are some examples of ways through which a person can give out personal information on the internet [2]

1. Filling out forms and entering various contests on internet sites.

2. Providing information when registering software usually downloaded from the

internet.

3. Giving out profile information on messaging accounts such as yahoo profiles.

4. Giving personal information to in chat rooms and to strangers which using instant

messaging software.

Invasion of privacy

1. Steps to prevent giving out unnecessary information on the internet?

A. Cookies

Cookies are small files which web-sites maintain on the computer to keep track of the pages to a user visits. They cannot access information on the computer but they keep track of the users surfing habits and can help marketing companies to keep track of user’s profiles and market certain products to them. To turn off cookies the internet browser setting can be changed to prevent cookies [8].

B. Shopping on the internet
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References

1. Surfer Beware: Personal Privacy and the Internet < http://www.epic.org/reports/surfer-beware.html >

2. Privacy Initiative < http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/ >

3. Privacy.Org < http://www.privacy.org/ >

4. Legal Information Institute < http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/privacy.html >

5. Privacy and the Internet < http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dabrent/380/webproj/leigh.html >

6. Controlling and Securing Personal Privacy and Anonymity in the Information

Society < http://www.niksula.cs.hut.fi/~eklund/Opinnot/netsec.html >

7. The Global Reach of Privacy Invasion <

http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/waakND02.htm >

8. About..Privacy < http://privacy.getnetwise.org/ >

9. The Federal Trade Commission Act <

http://www.stolaf.edu/people/becker/antitrust/statutes/ftc.html >

Images

a. http://www.cybercrime.gov/rules/cybercitizen4.htm

b. http://www.phaster.com/unpretentious/browsing_test.html

c. http://www.myarkpark.com/adsa/media/images/antivirus.gif

d. http://bhannonlaw.lawoffice.com/practice.htm
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