Internet Privacy Essay

Robert Mains Gifford University English Composition II ENG 122 Nathan Prints May 26, 2013 Is privacy in the 21st century possible? Since moving into the 21 SST century, the advancements in technology has affected the way society lives their lives. Technology has grown so fast and in many different ways. This paper intends to research the issues of internet privacy. While the internet can be a very powerful resource, Internet privacy laws are out of date.

Internet technology is continually advancing, it has been almost thirty years since The Electronic Communication Privacy Act (CPA) as enacted In 1986. Users are putting out their personal Information Is being put out on the web and once It Is out there It’s there forever and for anyone with a computer to see. The 21st century Is also Inhabited by unscrupulous people using the same technology to rip you and your Identity off. Identity theft is fastest growing crimes in the 21st century (Chaplin, 2007). Through the use of the internet, criminals can easily access your personal information.

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Anyone can do a simple search and find an address, phone number and with the use of search engines like Google Earth, people can now see where you live, work and play. Choosing a paper on privacy was important to me. The right to privacy is important to every person. Because of the advancements of technology and the lack of updated privacy laws, users are becoming victims of identity theft and other privacy crimes. This paper will discuss the past, present and future of Internet privacy (Chaplin, 201 3) (e Privacy) and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CPA). “Modernizing Surveillance Laws For the Internet Age,” 2010, p. 1) as well as how using the Internet has enabled users to obtain Information that once was private and secure to be freely accessed by anyone and discuss the current laws that protect individuals in regards to internet privacy as well as ways a person can protect their privacy in an age where privacy in the 21st century seems impossible (Goldbricks, 2010). In 1986, Congress enacted The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CPA) primarily to extend government restrictions on telephone wire taps. It also included protection on data transmissions by computer.

Since this act was passed few changes have been made to it, even Hough technology today has made leaps and bounds in ways of advancement since 1986. The need to reform is necessary because changes In technology have outpaced the law. CPA does not provide protection for the way technology is used today. There are conflicting and unclear standards In the area of governmental access to location Information and Judicial criticism. The CPA Is confusing and difficult to apply (“Modernizing Surveillance Laws for the Internet Age,” 2010). Privacy rights of users are being invaded without permission.

Identity theft is quickly becoming the nonusers without their knowledge. (Gnawing ; Steel, 2011, AY) The Wall Street Urinal conducted a yearlong study which exposed hundreds of companies that collected extremely personal details about internet users-online activities, political news, health worries, shopping habits, etc… All to feed a 26 billion dollar advertising industry. Courts are still using the archaic laws from 1986 to make rulings of privacy completely different digital world, this has law makers, courts, corporations and Individuals frustrated and confused.

Social networking sites are acting as an electronic ammunitions Service (SEC) or a remote computing service (ARCS). This information pertains to a user’s content and it should be protected regardless from voluntary disclosure so far as it is not “readily available to the general public” such as public posts. The issue is information stored in a user’s private mail account should be protected by law and current outdated laws make this unclear Inch makes it confusing in a court of law. There must be a balance of privacy.

Electronic communications have been a great tool to allow law enforcement to track alleged criminals and sexual predators as well as other societal crimes. Courts and congress are searching to find a balance that will protect and provide a balance for three interests: An individual’s right to privacy, the government’s ability to have the necessary tools to conduct investigations and the interest of service providers to ensure customer trust. (“Modernizing Surveillance Laws For the Internet Age,” 2010, p. ) quickly becoming the world’s most popular crime. Identity theft is the misuse of another person’s personal information by using the person’s name, date of birth, social security umber and credit card number to commit fraud. Thieves obtain this information in a variety of ways, trash cans, mail boxes, more recently pushing scams and computer hacking. Once acquired, thieves then open new accounts or hack into existing accounts, they even can obtain government benefits and services.

Thieves are able to evade the law by creating a new identity, and most consumers have absolutely no idea their identity has been stolen until they are denied credit or they run their credit report and see false negative credit reports in their name. Fortunately for the consumer they are federally protected and money stolen from bank accounts are usually returned and Charges to credit cards can be taken off but not without a lot of time, patience and frustration. Rhea increase of identity theft has become so severe that it costs consumers and businesses 49. Billion dollars annually (Swanson, 2008). This prompted the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. According to the Javelin Strategy and Research Survey, approximately 8. 4 million residents were victims of identity theft last year alone Swanson, A. ). And genuineness are still becoming victims. Privacy is now being taken into the hands of users and Internet businesses are quickly realizing that protecting their customers privacy is quickly becoming not only a very important issues, it’s Just good business.

A year-long investigation into online tracking exposed a fast growing network of hundreds of internet companies that collect highly personal details about internet users. Internet advertising is one of the fastest growing business growing at a staggering 14 percent (Gnawing ; Steel, 2011, p. 1), this is over double what the mainstream advertising grows in a year which is 6 percent. Data is quickly becoming the newest and fastest money maker for internet marketers. Shame Green, chief executive of a Washington start up, Personal Inc. , raised 7. Million dollars for a business that aims to help profit by providing personal information they gathered from the internet to their advertisers. (Gnawing ; Steel, 2011, Para. 3) As people are becoming more aware of the value of their data, many are now seeking ways to protect it. Companies such as Microsoft are developing do-not-track software. Demonstrated (Dented) is a browser tool that blocks the tracking capabilities of advertisers, social networks, and data-collection companies. It stops data collection by preventing your browser from communicating with tracking companies.

Similar to the do-not-call law which prohibits marketers and advertisers from calling you or risk being fined for doing so. Microsoft’s do-not track software is designed to protect user’s private information from anyone using or selling private information without the user’s specific permission. Consumers are slowly learning that there are ways they can take privacy issues onto their own hands, and as of now this is the best way people can protect themselves from Internet hackers and unwelcome users who take their data for sale to reduce the amount of private information on the web.

There are various websites that help users protect their privacy information. Many of us are basic computer users and don’t understand how to navigate on the web to use the tools to protect ourselves from online predators. Parachutists. Org is a nationally recognized consumer education and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to protecting the privacy of American consumers. This website alone is extensive! Everything from basic privacy to banking and finance, identity theft, how to protect medical records, online data, public records as well as social security numbers.

Everything a person needs to know how to protect themselves is here in a very easy, clear way to understand and use tools to protect a person’s privacy. One such tool to protect user’s online privacy is Tort. Tort is a free software program and an open network that helps users defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and legislations, and state security known as traffic analysis. Tort was originally designed for the US Navy.

Today, Tort helps protect the privacy of millions of personal and professional users from online networks. Using Tort protects you against a common form of Internet surveillance known as “traffic analysis. ” Traffic analysis can be used destination of your Internet traffic allows others to track your behavior and interests. Because of this, it can affect your personal finances if, for example, an e-commerce site uses price discrimination based on your country or institution of origin. Personal safety can also be compromised.

For example, if you’re traveling abroad and you connect to your employer’s computers to check or send mail, you can inadvertently reveal your national origin and professional affiliation to anyone observing the network, even if the connection is encrypted. (“Tort, Inception,” 2013) Let’s take a look at some other online tips to protect online security. Users should avoid downloading search toolbars, Google or Yahoo for example. These search bars can collect information on your search habits. When you visit various websites they often deposit various amounts of your information called “cookies”.

Cookies can store important data such as log in and registration identification and user preferences. Rhea browser will save the information and transmit it back to the server’s website to help customize the website for the customer. Although it is designed for user convenience, it can also be used to steal identity. Online companies software programs such as Microsoft’s do-not-track and nonprofit companies such as parachutists. Org and other programs like Tort give online users resources for them to help protect themselves. Law makers are slowly making progress in developing new laws that protect users in a fast changing technological world.

But as of now, we are confined with being protected with laws that are over thirty years old and courts, lawyers and victims are feeling frustrated in the fact that they are not being protected as well as they should be. Internet companies are finding ways to profit from user’s private data and sell it to advertisers, thieves are accessing user’s personal data and stealing identities at an alarming rate. With the help of nonprofit and profit companies developing software o protect users from online identity theft there is some hope that users can be protected but progress is slow and not completely safe from theft.