It has become a sad and upsetting fact that in todays society the truth is that the right to ones privacy in the I.T (information technological) world has become, simply a joke. In an electronic media article No place to hide, written by James Norman, two interesting and debatable questions were raised: Are we witnessing the erosion of the demarcation of public and private spaces brought on by the networked economy and new technology? Also, What roles do government, industry and citizens have in regard to censorship and privacy? These statements ultimately end with the fact that it is impossible for Net users to expect privacy online, because online privacy doesnt exist. However, one must ask, What will be done about the problem? while keeping in mind that yes, the thin line between public and private spaces has been severed as a result of new technology. It is vital that everyone as users of the internet, be it government, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), or individuals, need take the issue of Internet Privacy very seriously, while basing all actions towards the issue with the moral statement of, Rights arent free, theyre earned.
The issue of Internet privacy is not a new topic. Numerous articles displaying the urgency of the issue have been published time and time again. Yet no immediate action seems to have taken place. The issue of privacy over the Net can be in the form of personal privacy, privacy of details, and even physical privacy. The Sunday Mail published a special three-page report on June 4th 2000, outlining a variety of cases where individuals privacy, had been invaded over the Net through various chat sites. This report was based as a warning to parents, telling of how children, and young teenagers are having their personal privacy invaded by perverted older individuals, who seduce them.
Another electronic media article was that of Internet privacy? What privacy! by James Norman. This article focused on the problems of Internet privacy, rather than the solutions, however it did come up with various interesting comments. Norman states, Given the number of entities that have access to our personal information through databases and list-swapping, it becomes impossible to know how our lives are being rifled through. Which is completely true, once youre information is on the Net, it free for the taking, ultimately leaving everyone in the situation of being unsure of how private their private lives are. Another interesting comment made by Norman on this occasion was We should not underestimate the impact that internet technology, with its various data-gathering tools and techniques, has had in terms of the magnitude of certain privacy concerns, once again reinforcing the seriousness of the matter.
Are we witnessing the erosion of the demarcation of public and private spaces brought on by the networked economy and new technology? Of course we are, yet we stand back and watch it fall apart.
An example of this is in that of the case of Alexander Lunney. Alexander was subject to false accusations at the age of fifteen, of transmitting obscene, abusive, threatening and sexually explicit material. It was however revealed that Lunney was not even a member of the accusing company, and that an imposter had posted the material in his name. A step further than just anticipating the erosion on a worldwide basis is to begin NOW to re-form the barriers between the public and private sectors. The safety of individuals must be assured. It is true that there are numerous privacy acts and laws that exist to prevent the threat of privacy invasion on the Net, though they arent enough and theyre not working.
So it would be fair in saying that at present, not enough is being done to protect personal privacy on the Net. To even start to think about improving privacy, a realistic approach must be taken. Protective action must start with the ISP, where it should there guarantee about 50% privacy protection at least. Then the Government should step in to guarantee a further percentage of privacy protection, by using its role of power in the country. Finally the individual must be sensible in what he/she does to assure .