Updated: Aug 24
In this 21st century, many advancements have been made in past such as in education, medication, and most importantly technology. With the continuing evolution of technology in the past two decades, the lifestyle of the people has drastically changed. People have become more and more dependent on technology in every aspect of their lives. The increasing advancements in technology have led to easier communication ways for the world and also have changed the way people store their personal information. All of us must have heard about the Facebook case a few years back.
The Facebook data was breached where phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, etc. from user profiles were posted on an amateur hacking forum which left the users vulnerable. Approximately 50 million profiles were compromised as it gave the hackers the ability to take over users’ accounts. With the increasing use of technology, the risk of invasion of one’s privacy also increases.
Indeed, the digital age has been considered one of the best improvements to this present reality. It has carried various advantages to the existence of individuals and provided everyone with their necessities and needs. As the world gets into the desire for things that are "fast and simple", the Digital Age had presented a danger to individuals' protection and security.
There also are people that use this technology for illicit purposes such as gaining unauthorized access to the networks, committing fraud, and so on. Technology has made the lives of people easier but has accelerated the number of cybercrimes in the world. The fraudsters can spam the emails and if opened by the user mistakenly can falsely get access to the user’s personal information and can use such information for monetary transactions from the user’s bank accounts which would be a huge loss to the user and affect him adversely in all the aspects. The hackers can even get unauthorized access to users’ computer systems and misuse the information stored in the system.
Social networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook have also emerged tremendously in the past few years. People post and publish their personal photographs, videos, and other information regularly. Although these accounts are being managed by individual users privacy has always been a concern as this information can be used by others maliciously. Cyberstalking and bullying have also increased due to the invasion of privacy. Anyone can search a person’s name and find out information about their location, status, history, etc. The calling applications like Skype also save the user’s call recordings, and video calls recordings for a certain period of time for giving information to the government authorities if they need it. Such cybercrimes may target governments, individuals, institutions, and organizations.
With privacy being more questionable, the debate arises about whether it is ethical for the government to store and have access to the personal information of millions of individuals. Some say that the personal information of the people should be kept private as its leakage is a matter of concern. While on the other hand, people feel that this information should be kept under the supervision of the government in view of security reasons. There have been cases worldwide in the past where government secrets have been revealed by the use of hacking which has led to the rise in cyber terrorism also. The companies also invade privacy by tracking consumers’ preferences.
Consumers feel that invading privacy for safety is good but for commercial reasons is too much. They also feel creepy at times that they are being tracked. The smartphones we use have become a lot smarter now, they keep a record of all the applications you use, the webpages you visit, whom you contact, and even can take pictures of you of what you are doing.
Information privacy is critical to the right to privacy as a whole. It has to do with a person's ability to control when, how, and for what purpose their personal information is used by others. To protect human dignity, safety, and self-determination, privacy must be protected. Individuals are allowed to establish their unique personalities. It provides a foundation for a democratic society in this way.
In the end, there are numerous ways to enhance your privacy, such as exercising caution while sharing personal information online or with others. You might also make modest choices like buying with cash rather than a credit card, encrypting your emails and backups, reading the terms of service before utilizing a product (i.e., will your privacy be respected?), and analyzing how a website tracks you. The importance of online privacy should not be underestimated. Right now, there is a privacy epidemic. If firms or users do not safeguard themselves, personal information can be taken at any time. Many nations still lack regulations on privacy, which means that your cookies, internet browsing history, and purchases are tracked and sold to advertising agencies.
Lastly, to ponder about and act upon – if you lived under someone’s observation, would that shape your identity, and would you be afraid to act politically, for, or against certain causes? In the midst of all of this, one thing is obvious: it will require significantly more industry exertion - joined with stricter government mediation - to give consumers the information shields and level of security they should anticipate.
Navin Kumar Jaggi