Privacy on Internet

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David Gallo
Ms. Snellings
English III
April 1st, 2012
Internet Privacy Essay

With the internet gaining such popularity, privacy has become a thing of the past. People have come to accept that strangers can view personal information about them on social networks such as facebook, and companies and the government are constantly viewing peoples’ activity online for a variety of reasons. The government has attempted to help the consumer regain their privacy online by passing the Consumer Internet Privacy Protection Act of 1997, although it is difficult to enforce and has become outdated with the fast-moving tendency of the constantly changing internet. Some companies including yahoo and google have come under scrutiny about violating privacy laws, and the government is now pushing do-not-track technology to be implemented on these websites, ensuring the companies cannot track peoples’ location (Lyons). With the explosion of the internet, social networks breach peoples’ privacy everyday and are rampant with online predators, the only solutions are to make privacy policies shorter and easier to understand and make privacy settings more readily available.

Social networks such as facebook have become increasingly popular in the last few years, allowing strangers to view anyone’s’ profile and systematically eliminating privacy from those who choose to join such sites. Upon joining, you are prompted to agree to an about 30-page long privacy policy, that most people don’t even read three words of. This is a serious problem, as most people don’t know the extent the social networking site can share and exploit your information, or how they can use it in other ways. Moreover, by default, the privacy settings are made so any stranger that searches your name can view most information about yourself, able to see about 90% of your information before even friending you. There are reports filed all the time of cyberstalking and harassment, which often become sexual (Bobkoff). On a different note, sites like facebook are ridden with hateful groups and speech, and these groups can invite anyone to join at any time. (“Are Social Networking Sites good for our Society”) There should be settings put in that allow people to block such groups automatically, so they don’t need to deal with rejecting such requests. With so much sharing with so many people, there is bound to be problems with abuse. There have been reports of suicides as a result of “malicious gossip circulated on a social network,” gossip that was shared by one person and spread by others until many people know who weren’t supposed to (“Are Social Networking Sites good for our Society”).

Privacy is no longer a social norm, and cell phones are constantly taking in data from 8 to 10 sensors such as location that monitors peoples’ activity.(Gregory) Cell phones gather location data several times a minute, data that ends up being saved at cell phone companies for years. While this may be useful for policing, this violates the fourth amendment and companies should not collect location data so often. Smartphones are also plagued with malware applications, in which hackers can gain information such as credit cards, family photos, contacts, and more. In fact, smartphone malware was up 33% in 2010 from 2009, a scary statistic for smartphone users. (Hing)But it’s not only hackers and cyber criminals who are interested in information stored on out cell phones. It has been revealed that Appple Iphones and Google Android smartphones are tracking our location regularly, then recording this information to a hidden file on the phone. A test was conducted that showed iPhones even collect location data when their location is supposedly turned off (Hing). Anyone able to use our phone that is tech savvy can access this file and know your exact location at any given time. The fact that phones do this is a complete breach of privacy and the location information should at least be more difficult...
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