Privacy and Secrecy in the Digital Age

Privacy and Secrecy in the Digital Age

Privacy and secrecy are two of the most debated topics in modern society. With every day that passes new legislation is being introduced to either increase privacy or bring more security to the digital world. Two major pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the last few years are the USA Freedom Act and the European Monitoring Center Cybercrime Prevention Act. The main issue here is how each law will affect the average user and how those users are defined.

First of all, let’s look at the definition of privacy. Privacy is an individual’s right and expectation of privacy concerning their own interactions with the rest of the world. It also includes a person’s right to protect their data so that third parties cannot misuse it in any way. There are several international conventions on this topic including the United Nations Security Council and the World Trade Organization.

With the definition above in mind, what can we say about privacy and security in the digital age? In today’s social media world any user has the right to take their privacy and security into their own hands. This can be done by hacking into a network, deleting everything stored on the drive, or even changing the privacy settings so that anyone who wants can view the users’ information. This is not only illegal but this type of behavior may very easily cause personal and professional damage.

As this list suggests, privacy and security in the digital world are linked closely. If one is using a social media site to store data then they must be concerned with the privacy and security of that data. Any data breaches could have serious consequences for that company. This is especially true if the data breach resulted in the improper release of sensitive data such as credit card numbers. In the case of credit card data breaches the consequences for the company would be to lose millions of dollars, possibly resulting in the site being taken off the web and the data stored on hard drives being lost or destroyed.

This year we have already seen major changes to how Facebook plans to deal with data breaches. In January it was reported that Facebook had implemented a new privacy policy that would allow users to choose whether or not they wanted Facebook to “share” their data with outside companies. This means that the user would need to declare that they did not want to have their data shared with advertising companies or other third parties. It will be interesting to see how this policy plays out in the coming years. For now though, it appears to put Facebook in the “unfriend” category when it comes to your social media activity.

The FBI director was quoted as saying that the government’s transparency act needs to be improved. The Department of Justice and the National Security Agency are currently under investigation for the leaks. Whether these leaks are illegal is a question that everyone must wait to see, but one thing is for sure…a transparency act on the federal level is long overdue!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay