Internet Use Affected Privacy
Internet use refers to World Wide Web users, internet service providers (ISPs), and third parties (online social networking websites) who access, collect, store, utilize, and secure data/information . Whenever an individual or entity goes online, internet use starts. Internet use also means the intentional (or even unintentional) sharing and distribution of information that can lead to unintended consequences. For instance, in the event a cracker/hacker breaks into your computer to change, steal, destroy, or infect your data/information, your privacy is at risk. Your important personal data such as credit card details, exact physical address, and other private information can be used for purposes other than your original intent.
Internet privacy, on the other hand, involves the desire, right and/or mandate of protecting personal, group and/or organizational data. Internet privacy begins when a person or an entity enters the cyber world to view, visit, share, collect, store, and transmit information/data for personal or private purposes. When individuals freely give up their personal information over the internet (such as in social networking sites), privacy issues also ensues . Since people and organizations worldwide are affected by privacy issues/concerns, it is important to know some of the steps and solutions to protect your personal/private data/information whenever you access the internet. In order to understand well internet use and how it affects a person’s privacy, it is important to consider how internet is used, how data are collected, how information is stored, and how the data / information are used, and how one’s privacy is affected.
Concerning internet use as its affects privacy, any individual or group who utilizes online contents can be potential targets of unscrupulous online users, internet service providers, and other third party websites. Any of the aforementioned internet users can illegally collect and store data on your browsing experience. For example, with your permission, some third-party sites store their own data (i.e., cookies or short line of text) on your hard drive so that you can have a more convenient way of using their services. When your computer has cookies, there is no need to enter time and again your username and password when you need to log in to a previously visited website. Thus, whenever you want to log in, for instance, using Facebook.com, you simply type in the website address. Then, the webpage or your previous session will appear before you. This happens when you do not sign out. There are also other ways wherein your data are stored such as when you participate in an affiliate program. All your clicks and earnings are stored in your affiliate site’s analytic tool. However, because not all websites ask for your permission to enter data on your hard drive because of how you set your privacy setting, there is great possibility that your personal data/information may still leak slowly and invisibly .
So, despite the opportunities for and threats against your privacy, why is it that many people are very much willing to share their information online? The obvious answer is the accessibility and usability of data/information from them and from other netizens . Some of the data web users view, download, upload, and share are for educational, entertainment, or other purposes. So, whatever your intention is whenever you use the internet, your privacy is, for the most part, dependent on how you are cautious of your actions. Even so, people who are very careful about their privacy have their information/data still leak because of incidence beyond their immediate control (e.g., when a large quantity of unsolicited emails (spam) are forwarded to your inbox/spam folder). So, whether people like it or not, internet privacy will remain an issue because of data transmission, email logs, data trails, online transaction, and tracking cookies (webpage visited). Even Mohamed and Ahmad commented that antecedents of privacy concerns/issues involve a person’s self-efficacy, gender, and perceived vulnerability and severity. In addition, privacy invasion issues happen as a result of data mining and data matching. In data mining, private or sensitive data are extracted and cross checked from publicly available sites. Likewise, in data matching, data are cross-checked at a wholesale level from one source to another/other source/s.
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