In the modern era of technology, we live our lives in two worlds. One is the real world and then we have the cyber world, where we spent more and more of our time. No doubt there are numerous benefits in using the internet, today it has become a crucial aspect in our personal and professional life, we have reached a point where life would be unimaginable without access to the internet.
Despite all the positive impact it has had, there are also serious issues which arise from the use of the internet. One serious issue that has become more and more prevalent these last years is privacy, with the fast development of technologies the number of digital footprints we leave in the cyber world is growing rapidly.
Considering that we are spending a huge portion of our time online, that most of our activities are tied to the cyber world and that we are susceptible to privacy breaches, it is important that we become self-aware of the importance of privacy. With the increase of our dependency on the internet, so has the threat of being a victim to cybercriminals and hackers increased. Cybercrimes and online data breaches have become one of the most common and growing crimes in the world, this is partially tied to the fact that most people are not aware how to protect their privacy. Besides the fear of cybercrimes there are numerous other reasons why online privacy matters, according to Daniel Solove these are the 10 main ones:
- Limit on Government Power;
- Respect for Individuals;
- Reputation Management;
- Maintaining Appropriate Social Boundaries;
- Control Over One’s Life;
- Freedom of Thought and Speech;
- Freedom of Social and Political Activities;
- Ability to Change and Have Second Chances and
- Not Having to Explain or Justify Oneself
What Should Be Done?
- Government Level
In order to maintain a high level of online privacy, it is important that governments take actions. Approve laws that safeguard the privacy of internet users and offer tools to solve disputes, and adopt national policies that tackle online privacy. One such case is the European Union, which has already adopted the General Data Protection Regulation, a law which aims to improve and harmonize the legal protection of personal data for all EU citizens. Other countries will certainly follow the same steps in order to keep up with the EU.
- Individual Level
It is also important to take measures into your own hands, especially since many countries do not have proper legislation and state policies in place. Some small actions that anyone can take which will improve one’s online privacy are:
- Installing anti-virus software on your PC.
- Selecting stronger passwords.
- Being careful when entering certain websites or clicking on suspicious links.
- Being careful with what you share online.
- Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network when encrypting data online. You may visit vpnAlert for more info and tips about the fastest VPNs.
Online privacy is a vital issue that needs to be addressed since it affects everyone who interacts online. In order for this to work, a combination of individual, national and international cooperation is required. Privacy is not dead!