5 Reasons Why Online Privacy is a Thing of the Past
By Bryson Horstman
In an age where internet has become a utility because it is needed for everything, such as easier communication, finding information, navigation. In this day in age everyone knows virtually everything about you and vice versa, where all your personal information can be and most likely is stored on social media. The internet is an extremely unsafe environment especially now, when children are born in the age of technology and have no idea of what online privacy even is and think it’s just fine it they post pictures of themselves on the internet. Anyone can see your personal information if it isn’t guarded properly random people can see your information. The GPS on your phone tracks your location 24/7 unless you turn it off and someone where to gain access to that app then your house would become known to a complete stranger.
You may think because you have a decent password your personal information is completely safe and no one will be able to access it. Just because you have a somewhat decent password does not mean your accounts and emails are secure. Some hackers have be known to break into extremely secure government files let alone your Facebook account for example Gary McKinnon, he shut down a network of 2,000 in the us military and deleted critical files such as weapons and this was all in a matter of a day. Could you imagine what he or any other hackers for that matter could do to your Facebook? Your Facebook isn’t the only thing that could easily compromised, if you’ve stored information online, it could be accessed by anyone with the right equipment. Having your information compromised could lead to someone finding your location or finding information out on who your relatives are. Another example in a friendly game of CS:GO (a first person shooter) a man killed another man in this game, the man was frustrated after being killed he tracked his killer(in the game), for over 7 months and stabbed him. This is why privacy is so hard to keep in the online world today even though it took him 7 months to find him, it is still unsafe to keep all your information online. This example shows the consequences of having everything online. The list of consequences includes having your personal information being compromised, having your location compromised, having your relatives information compromised, stealing bank account details and having no control over your online accounts especially if they change the password.
Anything you disclose on your social media can be seen by literally anyone on the web, a stranger from America could see that you’re going on holiday in the Bahamas. It doesn’t matter where you live a person from the other side of the world could know what you look like. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have privacy settings, but people still don’t understand that their information is out in the open. Privacy on online is extremely important especially in social media because mostly everyone uses social media every day and is becoming more of a necessity to communicate with others. You also use it to display to others your day to day lives. The reason it matters that everyone can see your information on social media is because a random person could learn all about you, where you live, who your relatives are in a matter of seconds and that is an extremely powerful thing for random person to possess. The consequences of having everything online is having your relatives, your location and your personal information being disclosed.
Pretty everyone has a handheld device nowadays and uses it 24/7. Most handheld devices would include Wi-Fi and a GPS, which many people wouldn’t know about. What would happen if someone were to hack their way into your GPS they could find out where you were at any given time? This is a huge security risk because people could be able to find their way into your home and steal things, find out information about you and your family or even use your stuff while you at out of the house. The reason that this is important is because a random person is able to find where you live and break in. The consequences of this are that it gives access for location to random people.
Almost everyone has an email and every email has a junk folder, most likely in that junk folder there will be spam. This spam is harmless unless you click on it. Most people understand that clicking on spam email results in personal details being leaked or getting a virus on your computer. Sometimes the spam will look genuine and look like an email from a major company (e.g. Coles) stating that you have won a gift voucher. Sometimes spam emails are used to get your bank details or money, such as the Nigerian Prince scammer, his story was that he was a (fake) Nigerian Prince wanting to give out free money, but you needed to pay a deposit first of something like $5000, but instead of becoming a millionaire he would just keep the money. The reason spamming matters is because there is so much of it and so little knowledge about it among the younger crowds. The consequences of responding to a spam might be that your bank details could be compromised or that your computer could be loaded with viruses that in some cases cannot be removed and cost time and money.
Pretty much everyone has internet and it has become a necessity in every almost every household, like water and energy. What most people didn’t know is that everything you do online is being monitored and Facebook post you like, every photo you upload, everything on the internet is being monitored in some way or another. An example of a monitoring service is the NSA (National Security Agency), another would be targeted ads. The reason this is a problem is because it violates our privacy rights. Take targeted ads, every site you visit is being monitored and being stored so that companies can target ads at what you are interested in. The consequences of having no privacy online is that we can’t do anything without it being seen by some source.
What you need to do?
Hackers: There are hackers are everywhere and come in all forms. There is no way to avoid them, really all you can do is prolong the amount of time it takes for them to get into your personal information. One easy way to do this is by making you password as complex as possible and also change them every month or two. Another easy way is by changing all your settings to private so that people can’t see your information without being added as a friend. If you have a decent knowledge on computers and some money you could use VPN’s but doing this hard.
Social Media: Pretty much everyone uses social media these days and with the ever expanding population more people will be uneducated on privacy on social media sites. Ways to protect your privacy on social media include having a complex password and changing it every so often and changing your privacy settings so that only your friends can see your information.
Handheld Devices: Almost everyone has a handheld device, but most don’t know about the location services part. This is used to find your location for GPS uses and other, such as Facebook. It is easy to prevent this just go to your settings and change the location services to off.
Spammers: Everyone who uses an email will get spam, there is no way that you can’t. It will always be filtered into the junk section, but sometimes you could accidently open it, however it’s not too late just make sure you don’t click any links in the email and don’t give any personal details to it.
Everything is being monitored: Everything you do online will be monitored not matter what, there is no legal way to stop this. The only thing you can do is not go on illegal sites.