Impact of Technology On Privacy

The 21stCentury is characterized by the heavy impact technology has on us as a society while it continues to develop new devices and modernize technology. Millions of individuals around the world are now connected digitally; in other words, people globally rely heavily on smartphones tablets and/ or computers that store or save a majority of their personal information.

Critical and extremely personal data is available and collected in these smart technology such as credit card details, finger print layout, and –as a result of the rapid development of technology-a person’s exact and current location, where they work, and even where they live. Considering that technology and the internet have become so advanced, the definition of privacy has completely changed as a result. In Rebecca Greenfield’s article, “What Your Email Metadata Told the NSA About You.” She mentionshow without even knowing it, people every day send emails that hold sensitive information. In the article “Cyberscary: 4 Digital Threats to Worry About” by Eugene Kaspersky, he mentionshow social sites also have easy access to private information. Daniel J. Solove explains the nothing to hide argument in his article “ Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security.” Solove talks about how when it comes to internet privacy a lot of people don’t really mind that their information is being invaded because they believe in the nothing to hide argument, that since they aren’t doing any illegal activity online then it is fine for the government to have access to their information online.

People around the world send emails every day whether it be to talk to a friend or for business, but without even knowing it their email contains private information about themselves such as their location. Rebecca Greenfield is a staff writer of Fast Company, which is an award-winning magazine and website about technology, business, and design. Greenfield has an article called “What Your Email Metadata Told the NSA about You.” She talks about how the encoding contained in emails allows for agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), or literally anybody that has access to Google, be able to locate an individuals’ address, name, the country in which they live in, read the personal email.

Greenfield goes on to explain in her article that due to these agencies and people being able to access this private information so easily, they use and sell it for monetary value. This emphasizes my argument that the definition of privacy has changed due to the internet, because since there is such easy access to an individuals metadata it allows for agencies to sell an individual’sprivate information to the highest bidder and they don’t really care about what the bidder is going to do with this information or how it will affect the daily life of the owner of the metadata. Thisshows that internet privacy doesn’t exist due to their being such easy access to an individual’s private information. In the book, The Big Data Agendaby Annika Richterich, she talks about how the use of an individual’s data online is becoming unethical. Richterch states that, “In a 2014 ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided that ‘[i]ndividuals have the right –under certain conditions –to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them’ (European Commission 2014, 1-2).

This has been described as a strong signal that ‘privacy is not dead.’” This shows the opposing side of the argument that internet privacy does not exist. But in the book, it states that people can only report search engines “under certain conditions” which emphasizes my argument that the definition of privacy has changed due to theinternet. Anindividual can ask a search engine to remove links with personal information;it is still up to the search engines decision whether or not they want to remove the link. Although an individual would like to have privacy, to an extent, they cannever fully be private due to their lack of control.

Additionally, when people use social networking sites, they are normally prompted to provide personal information such as their full name, their birth year, what school they attended and their hometownsand etc. This allows strangers or the company itself to have easy access to their private information, even though the person could be in a private setting. In Eugene Kaspersky’s article “Cyberscary: 4 Digital Threats to Worry About” he discusses how internet privacy has completely changed due to sites such as Facebook. Kaspersky states that “Facial recognition technology has passed from law enforcement to the public realm-Facebook uses it in many countries.” Companies such as Facebook, which relies heavily on finding out all they can about an individual often tell their users they will not use their private information or pictures and that nobody will be allowed access to it. But the truth is, that these companies or agencies invade people’s privacy and even sell it to other companies or the highest bidder.

When people join networking sites, they are shown the terms and conditions of the website, but the terms and conditions contain a vast amount of information that people don’t have the time or care to read, so they usually agree with the terms and conditions. But hidden in the terms and conditions it can state that a website such as Facebook is allowed full access to a personal information whether it is private or not. The terms and conditions of the website trick the person joining that they are safe, but in reality, they are being used and exploited.

For example, in the journal article, Keeping Internet Users in the Know or in the Dark: An Analysis of the Data Privacy Transparency of Canadian Internet Carriers, by Andrew Clement and Jonathan A. Obar, they talk about an analysis of data privacy transparency from forty-three internet carriers in Canada. In the article, they stated that “most carriers perform poorly on data privacy transparency. “We awarded very few stars overall, 92.5 in total out of a possible 430. On average, this is barely two stars out of a maximum of ten. Just seven of the forty-three carriers earned more than three stars,” they go on to say that these companies barely touch on the topicof privacy and if they do it is very vague. Lastly, a plethora of people around the world are often unaware that their privacy is being invaded or choose to ignore the problem because they believe that since they aren’t doing anything bad on the internetthan they have nothing to hide.

This is called the nothing to hide argument that Daniel J. Solove, the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and a leading expert on privacy law, explains in “The Nothing to Hide Argument” from his article Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security. Solove explains in his article that the nothing to hide argument isn’t the best argument to use against Internet privacy being completely invaded because it is completely wrong.

The negative side of the nothing to hide argument is that it suggests that only people that are doing an illegal activity on the internet want privacy and everybody else doesn’t, when in fact privacy on the internet is much more complicated than that. When it comes to the people who use the nothing to hide argument they believe that since they have nothing to hide then it is fine for the government to have access to personal information to collect and analyze.

The government isn’tjust looking to see who is plotting a terrorist attack or who wants to build a bomb, instead, the government will monitor an individuals search history, what they do when they go online and whom they are communicating with over the internet. For example, it is as if they were watching a person in real life, following them around, looking into their house and searching through their stuff. When the government collects private information from an individual they are able to see their habits on the internet, what they like to buy online and etc. From this information, the government is able to create a profile for that person after they sell that information to advertisers.I believe that the internet has completely changed the definition of privacy because so many websites and social networking sites are exploiting individuals private information to their own advantage due to it having such a high monetary value.

Which causes for people’s privacy to be completely invaded, agencies do it without caring about how the person would feel about it or how it will affect them in their daily lives. They do it by using the encoding in a person’s emails, social sites lying about how they are not able to see a person’s personal information when they are private and also people completely ignoring the issue of internet privacy, because they believe that since they have nothing to hide it doesn’t matter that their online activity is being watched.

Internet privacy is a serious topic because so many individuals around the world hold such sensitive information online that if the government or agencies get a hold of it, it can be used against the individual, whether it is to control to them or to cause harm.