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Topics - irene__kelvin

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Off Topic / Hashtag challenge for Internet Privacy Rights
« on: April 09, 2019, 11:57:24 PM »

Imagine if all of your messages, your search history, and personal information including credit card information was made public. It would be a nightmare if just one of those things were leaked, your spouse would divorce you from your messages, you would become a social pariah from your search history, and you could become bankrupt or lose your identity overnight. You may not be rich or famous right now so the hackers won’t steal your data as they did to Jennifer Lawrence in 2014, but nowadays it can happen to anyone.

This is not just a fantasy belonging in the plot of Black Mirror, this could be reality. Every day we share 2.5 exabytes of data and we think that data is private. Hackers think otherwise. Even if you are the richest person in the world, your private photos can be leaked, your deleted tweets can come back to bite you, and even your social security number could be sold on the dark web. Even if you are an angel who has never badmouthed anyone and have nothing to hide or a hermit who barely uses the internet, your life can still be ruined by security breaches. Almost all medical devices used today are internet connected which opens the way for hackers to ruin your life. For example, there is a frightening security issue with wireless insulin pumps: hackers could crack their system and cause lethal doses. It’s terrible that this information leak may ruin or even cost you your life. This is the harsh reality — all our data could be stolen unbeknownst to us.

Large companies will not protect you if you use your data carelessly. In fact, the Pew Research Center finds that today roughly half of Americans don’t trust the federal government or social media sites to protect their data. This fear grows across the world and rightfully so, as citizens of different countries begin to question their cyber privacy. The first concern is about governmental authority: is the government really stalking us? From country to country the state of cyber privacy differs, but all governments have the legal capabilities to do surveillance on anybody: this is shown in, section 702 of the FISA in the US, Investigatory Powers Act 2016 in the UK, International Electronic Communications Law 2015 in France. There is no doubt that the governments should regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist, terrorism and other crime planning. But in the process of such regulation, we should be confident that our human rights are respected and we still have the right to private life.

The second concern touches upon global corporations: How much information do we should share with Facebook and Google? These global companies have the power to collect whatever they want for any nefarious purpose. It’s not wrong that Amazon suggests me cool stuff I was searching on the Internet, but it's pretty scary when I talk to someone on Messenger and mention that I want to buy new headphones and after a minute the suggestion of new headphones appear on my social networks. How do they know? No, unfortunately, it’s not the law of attraction, it’s stalking. It seems like already everyone has a story about their smartphone listening to them.

But it would be wrong to blame just the government and corporations. Only we are responsible for our privacy. There are tons of ways to do it nowadays: to use VPN, use incognito browsing modes, use ad blockers, clear your cookies data, be careful of public Wi-Fi (even through our lovely Starbucks Wi-Fi hackers managed to crack computers and made them cryptocurrency miners), always use strong passwords (it needs only 0.29 milliseconds to crack 7 characters password), be accurate when you post on social media. Follow the cyber privacy rules and maintain your internet hygiene.

How many of your friends know about such problem? And how many of them do something to protect themselves? Only a few do. We need to spread the message. Forewarned is forearmed. Post this article in your social networks, share your own story about internet privacy and discover how many people are aware of it. Use the hashtag #internethygiene and always remember that Internet privacy begins with you.

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