Holding the Line Against the Erosion of Privacy

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-22 Print this article Print

5. Everyone has a vested interest

Every Web user has a vested interest in seeing personal privacy preserved. If people are being monitored in the privacy of their homes, tracking has gone a little bit further than it should. Simply ignoring that issue wouldn't do anyone any good and it would likely embolden other organizations to engage in the same practice. If personal privacy is truly what Web users desire, they need to stand up for it wherever possible.

6. We need to be more astute

When sitting on the couch at home or working at the office, most folks believe that no one is watching what they're doing. It's a faulty belief that has gotten more than one person in trouble. There are definite signs of being monitored while using the Web. Users need to be more aware of those signs and realize that when they're online, it's not always private.

7. Education is key

In order to become more astute, more folks need to be educated on issues surrounding privacy. They need to know what's at stake if personal privacy is violated on the Internet. They also need to know just how easy it is for someone to spy on them without their knowledge. Armed with that basic information, users can more readily prepare for privacy violations. The Internet is no longer a place where few problems can arise. It's now the home of major security outbreaks. Users need to be aware of that.

8. It's not getting any better

As much as some folks might want their personal privacy preserved, it's becoming more and more obvious that the industry is moving in another direction. Privacy is being eroded on several fronts. Part of that is due to a general lack of user understanding. But it's also due to the current climate in the tech industry. More security outbreaks are affecting companies and organizations. Sensitive data is being stolen. Giving users too much privacy could, some say, limit the ability to fend off attacks. Privacy is now a pawn in the security world's fight against malicious hackers.

9. Privacy is subjective

Personal privacy is a subjective term that is too easily thrown around without a clear definition of what violates it and what doesn't. A violation to one person might not be a violation to another. That subjectivity only confuses the issue of how to handle personal privacy on the Web.

10. It can be violated anywhere

Privacy issues affect Web users around the globe both at work and at home. These issues have seeped into every facet of Web life. And they're becoming more invasive by the day. It's incumbent upon all Web users to recognize that and be prepared if and when they're affected. The more connected we become, the more our personal privacy is at risk. We can't forget that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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