Terms and Conditions may apply
History of the Problem
The emergence of the internet and communication facilitated communication between individuals. However, the accounts that people use for communication usually have bulky privacy policies that can be displayed either on the page having the “agree” on the icon or can be retrieved from a link that redirects a person to another web page. Internet users do not take their time to read all the terms or sometimes they totally fail to read. It implies that personal information is prone to usage by the online account providing company (Pollach, 2007). According to Warren and Brandeis, the privacy protection is amongst the people protection, especially in the modern era. Online privacy policies have been in existence for some time since the start of the Internet usage. The US government recognizes the need to protection of privacy under the Fair Information Practice Principles. The FIP stipulates four necessary conditions that should be met for purposes of attaining effective privacy protection (Malaga, 2014). These are:
Notice/Awareness- individuals should be notified that their information is collected and how it will be used.
Choice/Consent- users should be informed of the other indirect process that will utilize their information other than the present company.
Access/Participation- individuals should be in a position to access the information collected about them and thus be in a position to make corrections.
Security/Integrity- throughout the transmission and storage process, the company having individual’s data needs to exercise maximum care of the information to ensure that it does not reach unauthorized people.
Extent of the Problem
Social Networks, as well as email providers, usually have a large amount of data concerning persons that advertisers often target for personalized ads. The users or the consumers tend to perceive the advertisements as being appealing disregarding the violation of privacy policies. For instance, Google, Facebook, and Twitter usually utilize personal data to know particular interests of a person and thus allow ads that match one’s interests (Pollach, 2007). The Web-based firms often sell their customers’ data to third parties and thus allowing for advertisement on personal emails or the social networks. Notably, these companies often do not exercise protection of personal data as required. They take the advantage of people inability to recognize the need of protecting personal data from the third party since few people usually make a follow up on the cases involving their data usage. The Web companies do not readily show the dangers associated with revealing too much of one’s info. Instead, they see profit margins upon getting such data. It implies that still more needs to be done to reduce the misuse of data saved online. The government can also access personal data stored online for investigation purposes. In such instances, the Web merchants usually grant the access that ends up tampering with privacy policies (Malaga, 2014).
Web companies typically utilize unfriendly languages while requesting an individual to agree to the privacy policies. For example, failure to agree to the policies ends up nullifying the account and thus one cannot proceed to the next step. Agreeing is, therefore, a compulsory as well as a sufficient for opening an account. In most cases, where individuals regard personal info as being sensitive especially to the third party, they typically fake the data to secure an account. Online firms are usually not flexible since they primarily rely on ads. One’s data is regularly traded with the provision of a platform to the third party. The above information proves that online companies often target making a profit at the risk of providing personal data to the third parties (Pollach, 2007).
Privacy policies of most Web-based organizations do not primarily aim to protect individual information rather than protecting the firm from lawsuits that might arise due misuse of personal data. Privacy policies usually integrate all the areas involving availing bio data to the third parties such that a person cannot file a complaint against the organization. Internet users comprise of all the individuals in the society (Malaga, 2014). It implies that the academic variations are usually incorporated. The language used in privacy policies is too complicated for an ordinary person to understand. Only those having a college education and above can read and integrate the system into meaningful concepts and thus guide the agreement to them. Privacy policies is currently a worldwide concern since most people fall into the trap of agreeing to the terms and conditions without going through them and establishing the best step to take (Pollach, 2007).
Organizations Addressing Privacy Policies
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The organizations advocate for the incorporation of the privacy rights to the digital world. It partners with other agencies to ensure the development of privacy-protecting technologies.
Electronic Privacy Information Center
It is a center that focuses attention on the emerging privacy as well as civil liberties concerns. The organization is based on the principle that privacy is a fundamental right.
ACLU Freedom Network
The organization advocates for the expansion of privacy rights on personal information. It works to ensure civil liberties are improved rather than being deteriorated by technological innovation.
Malaga, R. A. (2014). Do web privacy policies still matter? Academy of
Information & Management Sciences Journal, 17(1), 95-99.
Pollach, I. (2007). What's wrong with online privacy policies? Communications
of the ACM, 50(9), 103-108. doi:10.1145/1284621.1284627