Privacy and protection of personal life activities is valuable to all human beings. It is important for everyone to have a control over who gets access to which part of their private life. Nobody would like just anyone to be able to invade their privacy any time that they feel like. However, recent developments in the department of information technology have put people’s privacy under a serious threat. As a result of these advancements, people no longer have enough control over the security of their private data. The expansion of technology in the 21st century has allowed large amount of data to be collected, stored and processed including internet searches, payments made through the internet and even the conversations that people have via messaging or on call can all be recorded and be accessed by different agencies of the state in the name of security (Stanton).
Living in this modern era, where living without technology does not seems to be an option, we can take various measures to protect our privacy and make sure that the usage of internet is secure. Everyday people face unprecedented threats by hackers and anonymous people who are just a button away from leaking their personal information on digital media. But this does not mean that we do not have ways to protect our privacy on internet. A number of measures can be taken to protect our private data on internet and to make sure that all of our information on digital media is safe and secure.
Stronger and Unique Passwords
One should make sure that passwords for laptops, social media accounts, bank accounts and credit cards are unique, creative and stronger. Make use of upper case letters, lower case letters, numeric, and special characters. If one has accounts that are not used frequently then their passwords are supposed to be at least 10 characters long and for the accounts which one actively uses are ought to have the password of about 30 characters long. In case of finding any trouble to think of a unique password, the password manager application can be used. This app will help to generate long and unique passwords that are not easily remembered or guessed by everyone. Besides that, the app provides with the facility to encrypt the passwords and also set security questions so that one can remember them in case of any problem or emergency. Another thing to keep in mind is that people should not use the same passwords for every account. For example having the same password for Facebook, Snap Chat, and Instagram account will make it easier for the hackers to hack all the accounts at the same time and breach the privacy.
Delete Personal Information before Disposing Electric Gadgets
If one is planning to get a new laptop, mobile phone, and tablet or planning to make a new account then make sure that he/she first delete all the personal information for the old apps or accounts or transfer the data into the new ones. It is also safe to transfer all the personal data and information into a hard drive or make use of wipe utility software to avoid losing the important data. Also people should check the manual of the owner, website of service provider for information on how to clean the gadget of all the data and personal stuff before disposing it off, particularly the cell phones and personal computers. Last but not the least, one needs to meticulously delete all the call logs, Whatsapp and text messages, voice notes, folders, photos in your gallery and search history from the web.
Use Safe Web Browsing
Previously, there were not enough options about the safe browsing but now with the boost in modern technology browsing has become safer than it ever used to be. iPhone users can use several apps like Brave or Firefox Focus which are privacy protecting web browsers. There are also a number of other safer browsers for android users which gives them an opportunity to browse anything without worrying about security issues. It is also important to realize that not every website on the World Wide Web is safe. There are occurrences when simple music surfing websites can allow spyware to be downloaded on the computer. This is why it becomes extremely crucial to know where one is headed to while surfing the internet. Websites with adult or pornographic material as well as pirated materials are unsafe to use regarding the privacy of your system is concerned. Downloading material off the internet sometimes becomes extremely harmful if that path is not treading carefully. Torrents that exist on various platforms are unsafe to a certain degree because most of the times it is not clear what one is downloading. Usually files that are corrupted and can potentially harm the system are the ones that may be presented under fake names, which trick people into downloading them. Some files have spyware or malware attached to them which can potentially put your data and privacy at risk.
Web Cam Hacking
Recently a number of people have faced this issue, as hackers tend to get access to their front cameras, which allows them to pry on them and their surrounding through whatever the web came of a laptop, computer, tablet, or phone is able to capture. Tech experts around the world suggest that it is best to keep the camera lens covered when it is not being used. Not only is someone else’s privacy being breached through this, but also their safety is at risk as a significant amount of information can be leaked through the webcams. Other than this, some people like to chat with strangers online, which can allow a person to see where you are sitting and in what location. This can be dangerous if one is not careful of what they are showing on camera.
Posting on Social Media
It cannot be denied that in today’s day and age, not updating your social media platforms is practically considered as abnormal behavior. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube are some of the most popular platforms that people like to post on these days. Video blogging or more commonly known as vlogging is something that is becoming popular and the trend is spreading like wildfire. Social media influencers tend to let everyone know whatever is going on in their daily personal lives, which makes their fan following so interesting. However because the people get an inside view on how a certain person lives their life, and this popularity is not necessarily based on that person’s talent, therefore, it leaks the privacy and provides an opportunity to other for intervention. It is natural for us to be curious about what goes on inside a strangers home, and even more, if that person is a famous celebrity. However, the problem arises when one does not understand the difference between what is safe or unsafe to post on social media. When a person uploads a picture on Facebook or adds it to their Snap story, there are a lot of people who are viewing it simultaneously, what we are not sure about is who that person on the other end is.
This is one of the reasons why one should not post personal addresses, phone numbers, identification, bank related information, street numbers, or even car number plates online (Wolf). There is always a chance of fraud or malicious activity if any of the above stated information falls into the wrong hands. Other than this, it is also important to understand that not everything is meant to be posted on social media. Too much sharing can be dangerous as it gives strangers a free pass to evade your privacy. Example, it is not important for someone to highlight what time their house would be empty, or where they are heading right now especially if their posts are public or if they are alone. Tech experts outline that people unintentionally give out information that can be harmful in terms of their privacy, such as entering billing information, addresses, or phone numbers on different websites and apps without being concerned about the authenticity of the platform.
With technology being on the rise and no clear agreement on the importance and limits of privacy legal, ethical and policy related problems are becoming more common. People are becoming more insecure regarding the online purchases participating in online games, or visiting social networking sites. There is no denying that a breach in privacy is inevitable given the global village situation that we are a part of today, because technology has become a tool for people to be able to see and do things that they weren’t able to see and do before. Even though this technology is supposedly taking us into the future, but it also opening a door that allows dangerous things to happen under the umbrella of cyber crime. At this point, where every seven year old has an iPhone, personal safety and looking out for ones privacy is unquestionable.
Stanton, Jeffrey M., and Kathryn R. Stam. “Information technology, privacy, and power within organizations: A view from boundary theory and social exchange perspectives.” Surveillance & Society (2002): 152-190.
Wolf, Ralf De, and Rob Heyman. “Privacy and Social Media.” The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (2015).