Due to our “over indulgence” in technology these days, we are vulnerable, we are at risk. In order to protect ourselves, we should first realize what internet privacy means.
Internet privacy means the right of having privacy when storing, sharing, and receiving or sending information online that is of personal nature. Internet privacy is a very broad term and admittedly there are some loopholes. For example, if you sign an online petition, shouldn’t your name be published on the website, isn’t that the whole purpose of signing petitions, to show that you are openly against something? – Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But what someone is tracking all the petitions you have signed in order to learn your political mindset, likes dislikes and what kind of a person you generally are. If you have signed 10 online petitions in one month related to animal cruelty, a person tracking you can identify you as “animal lover”.
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He can then sell the information, your information to various companies that are selling animal related products that you might be interested in buying. So you see something as simple as signing online petitions for a good cause can be privacy invasive.
Is convenience of being connected to the word worth the risk?
Now let’s come to the more scary part; governments spying on us (and yes they are!) Activists around the globe are protesting our internet privacy rights. Many experts believe that whatever we have left of our digital privacy will be completely gone by 2025 – in a legal way!
“Unfortunately, we will have given up on privacy by 2025, or we will have re-interpreted what it means,” says internet privacy activist Ian Peter.
An opinion of 2500 experts
Pew Research Center interviewed and surveyed more than 2500 experts. Here is what they find out;
- 45% of experts say online privacy would be gone by 2025.
- 55% of them say it will not be “completely gone”.
- 77% of experts say that our information would be much more public in next 5 years to come.
- 61% say that cyber-attacks and digital crimes would be more impactful by the year 2020.
- 66% of these experts are convinced that US government is spying on them (20% say they cannot be entirely sure). While 43% of UK internet experts believe in government spying.
What internet users say?
According to a survey taken by Pew Research Center’s Internet Project in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, following are some numbers you should see.
- 86% of internet users like to take steps that hide their digital footprints. They either use VPN, clear cookies or use many other ways.
- 55% of citizens avoid detection from specific organizations such as their governments.
- 59% of users do not believe complete online anonymity is possible while 37% believe it is.
Here are some other facts unearthed by the PEW survey, (presented as they were published):
- 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
- 13% of internet users have experienced trouble in a relationship between them and a family member or a friend because of something the user posted online.
- 12% of internet users have been stalked or harassed online.
- 11% of internet users have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
- 6% of internet users have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
- 6% of internet users have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
- 4% of internet users have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.
- 1% of internet users have lost a job opportunity or educational opportunity because of something they posted online or someone posted about them.
About the author:
Nuur Hasan is a software developer and a political activist, he intends to dedicate his life to the becoming the voice of the voiceless.