The Internet has become a great tool that is used almost by every person in the world. It changed the way how people live. With surfing the web, people share data about themselves. Many people are unaware of the information that websites collect about them. On the other hand, other people who are concerned about their privacy and know what many websites do with their data are limiting their use of the Internet, abstaining from purchasing products online.
It can be possible that websites without the permission of the user, they track their usage of the websites. Therefore, privacy is the most important thing that users need. “Warren and Brandeis  defined privacy as the right to be let alone” (Chung, W, and Paynter, J. 2002). Although some people don’t care about privacy, they should be aware while using websites because sometimes websites track their usage of the web page, and some companies sell users’ data to a third party. The essay aims to discuss the privacy threats that people must be concerned about and increase awareness about the importance of internet privacy.
Web tracking is one of the issues that users must care about. Web tracking is the practice by which websites identify and collect information about users (FreeCodeCamp, 2018). Most people don’t know how much of their activities are being tracked. Websites also use web trackers to collect your personal information. Web trackers do not only collect your browsing of a website, but it collects more information. For example, your IP address, where you came from, your location, etc. “According to a study by Ghostery, 79 percent of websites globally are tracking your data” (FreeCodeCamp, 2018). Websites with the biggest tracking networks are social media sites and the big, non-private search engines (choosetoencrypt. 2019). One main purpose of tracking is for advertisers to influence customer purchasing behavior. “In November 2017, Yale Privacy Lab detected trackers in over 75% of the 300 Android apps it analyzed” (Nguyen, N. 2018).
Another issue to consider is that some tracking companies sell users data without their permission. Information about one’s usage in a web site can be stored in a cookie. Many websites ask the user to confirm that their website is using cookies before the user uses the webpage. However, a big issue is that many websites store cookies in the user’s hardware without his knowledge. By using cookies, companies can collect personal information such as location, buying habits, e-mail address or the portions of a web site that were looked at previously. “This information can be combined into mailing lists for direct marketing purposes or it can be sold to third parties” (Chung, W, and Paynter, J. 2002). Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hulu, and Netflix are some of the most well-known websites/applications. These websites provide a service to the consumer, while at the same time they collect, use, and sell their data without consent to third parties (Rolfe, W. 2019). Additionally, many users are not aware that these websites often share their data, allowing them to compile thorough profiles on users.
Although It is impossible to restrict the internet, governments should make internet privacy laws stricter so that users of the internet can feel safe when using the web. People must be careful when visiting a website because many websites provide a privacy statement but the problem that many people don’t read it. New Zealand based web sites are expected to have privacy statements on their web sites under the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993 (Chung, W, and Paynter, J. 2002).
Internet privacy has more issues that people must be aware of. Countries have to strict the privacy laws so that users of the internet feel safe with knowing that their data will not be sold or used for other purposes because a primary benefit of internet privacy is that it allows individuals to remain anonymous. Internet privacy is the foundation of the internet and it will never fail to improve.
- Chung, W and Paynter, J. (2002). Privacy Issues on the Internet.
- Web Tracking: What You Should Know About Your Privacy Online. (2018). Retrieved 27 02, 2020, from https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/what-you-should-know-about-web-tracking-and-how-it-affects-your-online-privacy-42935355525/
- Rolfe, W (2019). Despite new internet privacy law, your private data can still be sold and shared without consent. Retrieved 27 02, 2020, from https://www.themainewire.com/2019/06/new-internet-privacy-law-allows-your-private-data-to-be-sold-and-shared-without-your-consent/
- Nguyen, N. (2018) A Lot of Apps Sell Your Data. Here’s What You Can Do About It. Retrieved 27 02, 2020, from https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nicolenguyen/how-apps-take-your-data-and-sell-it-without-you-even
- What is Internet Tracking? (and How to Avoid Being Tracked). (2019). Retrieved 27 02, 2020, from https://choosetoencrypt.com/search-encrypt/internet-tracking-why-its-bad-and-how-to-avoid-it/