The Internet: How Private is Your Privacy?
Would you go up to a random stranger and hand them all of your personal information: home address, social security number, credit card number, etc…? This is exactly what people do every single day when they are on the internet signing up for online banking, social networks, and even online shopping. According to Internet World Stats, approximately 239,893,600 people in the United States alone account as internet users by 2010 (United States). Consequently, the Internet has infiltrated the lives of so many and has become the main source of dependency to get things accomplished. But as time goes on, and technology becomes more advanced, people are starting to see that their private information may not be as private as they once thought.
Before the internet, people had to pay their bills through mail or by taking it to the company themselves, communicate by telephone or letters, and shop by physically going to the store. As the internet advanced, the ability to pay bills, communicate and shop online seemed more appealing and convenient. With this, the act of openly sharing private information online became less of a taboo and instead became the norm of society.
Today, most billing agencies have online payment options for their customers. Although this new option has served to be more convenient and efficient than paying on paper, like all good things, it comes with its own risks. Nicola J. Mrazek, the trial attorney for the fraud section of the criminal division at the U.S. Department of Justice, reported that of all the fraud complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission in 2006, forty-eight percent were Internet related. Although the rate of complaints rose significantly, the rate of actual monetary losses from the Internet related fraud cases rose much faster according to Mrazek (Britt).If these companies are being robbed blind of their money and their customers’ money, then how could they ensure security against theft of identity? Not only do people depend on the Internet for banking and paying bills, but they also rely upon the Internet for communication.
Social networking websites (SNWs) are the thing of today. There are multiple sites that allow various ways of communication. Just a few social networking websites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, and much more. People join these sites by setting up a membership account which involves giving the site personal information: name, date of birth, email address, even phone number in some cases. Once signed up as a member, people begin to share even more information in the form of statuses, tweets, posts, etc. As these sites advance it seems that information is not only being shared with the company itself and online friends but also partnering companies of the site. For example, Facebook is partnered with multiple application developers to allow games and other applications to be used through the site. Facebook is also partnered with...