Differences Between Cyberspace and Physical Space

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Many newcomers initially assume that what they do in cyberspace is private if no one in physical space is watching them (Regan, 384). Mostly they continue to behave like this until they face with a privacy violation. In order to act in cyberspace properly, understanding the difference between physical space and cyberspace privacy is crucial. Crowded streets, enclosed malls, thin walls and gated mansions are examples of different level of private places. In physical space it is possible to set privacy level easily because of the fact that we can observe the level of privacy using visual cues. If someone wants to live in a more private way, she can create random patterns of movement, go outside at odd times and use cash for shopping. Another person can wear a nametag and use credit card for shopping, if she wants to be more public. That is also shows that there can be different privacy levels in the same medium, and it doesn’t affect other individuals. However this is not true for gated communities. In gated communities, entering to some parts of the physical space requires authorization where entrance and exit are also recorded. In such a community anonymous movement is limited by physical surveillance. In the societies whose expectation of privacy is broader, this may cause resistance. Because one’s privacy decision may also affects others in gated communities. On the other hand, when we look at the privacy level in the cyberspace we see that is not clear. Many users are not aware of their privacy level since it is not possible to observe it physically. Users cannot easily observe who is accessing to their personal information because of the fact that all the actions take place behind the screen. Furthermore tracking users’ movement is also possible using the user’s Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and cookies which stores the user’s online activity history. However anonymity is also possible such that one can use different identities to create more private...
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