Is there privacy in digital age?
In the physical world, there is a clear and visible separation between private space and public space. For instance, your house ‑ and the perimeter around it ‑ is your private space and you are entitled to enjoy privacy within your house. Your neighbors cannot just barge in and demand that you stop cooking or doing the laundry. Other people cannot simply walk in, sit on the couch and watch TV with you.
When you are in a restaurant, a beach resort, or in a bus, however, the story is different. Anyone can sit with you and anyone can join you because you are in a public area. Our private space depends on where we are. We have a private space in the office – perhaps our cubicle. We are entitled to some privacy when we are in restrooms.
Whatever the case, privacy is clearly demarcated in the physical world. In the digital world, however, it gets a bit tricky. Each of us have an idea of what should be private and what should be public in the digital place, but there seems to be no universal demarcation.
However, this is no excuse for invading people’s privacy. Large corporations, and even the government cannot just say, “There is no clear line between private and public space in the digital world, so we are not actually invading anyone’s privacy.”
Perhaps we can go back to the basic definition of privacy. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, privacy is “the quality or state of being apart from company or observation.” It further provides another definition of privacy as the “freedom from unauthorized intrusion.”
Invasion of Privacy
From these definitions alone, one can have an inkling as to where invasion of privacy occurs in the digital world. If an account is password-protected, then all activities of the account owner should be private. It should not be “observed” or “intruded” on by anyone other than the owner.
Take for example a person’s email account. It is password-protected, hereby making sure that only the owner can use the account for whatever purpose, including financial transactions such as online purchases and money transfers. However, if somebody else gets hold of that email address along with the password and uses it, then that already is invasion of privacy.
It doesn’t matter that the intruder won’t do any harm – use the email for his own financial gain, or obtain details from the email that can shame or harm the owner. Invasion of privacy is invasion of privacy, no matter the intent and no matter the result of such action.
This is the most obvious form of invasion of privacy. But this invasion also happens in subtle and silent ways. Sadly, millions of internet user get their privacy invaded by someone else including the government and large corporations.
Your internet service provider collects your browser history information. Data brokers employs cookies in order to get hold of your online habits, your IP address, your device type, and even the size of your screen. Seemingly innocent educational software that you use for your children actually collect data about your children.
Everything you open on your computer, mobile phones, and other gadgets while you are online can potentially collect your information and that of your family members. This is invasion privacy done in a subtler and seemingly harmless ways.
This is pretty scary especially when it comes to one’s financial transactions and information. You may have some creative business ideas that you want to do online but you are hesitant because of the lack in security. Or there may be online business opportunities that are presented to you, but you are holding back because of some privacy issues.
Well, one of the new trending business ideas that you can do online is engaging in cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are a form of digital currencies that uses cryptography to secure and encrypt the transactions that evolve around it.
The attractive characteristic of cryptocurrencies is that it provides anonymity to its owners. You don’t have to worry about anyone hacking into your account and using it for their own financial gain. Cryptocurrency wallets are not associated to people – and the owner. Instead, tied up to one or more keys or addresses. This makes cryptocurrency owners unidentifiable.
If you want to start your own business ideas, engaging in digital business such as this digital currency is something you may want to look into.
Is there privacy in the digital age?
As said before, you may be having doubts in engaging in online business opportunities such as digital currency because of the issue on invasion of privacy. It is quite scary knowing that absolutely anyone can obtain and collect your personal information.
Thus it leads us to the nagging question: is there privacy in this digital age? The answer for now can be a resounding no. Unless governments and states pass laws and regulations that specifically fights invasion of privacy, internet users cannot enjoy any real and genuine privacy. Internet users such as yourself should have the freedom to choose whether you want advertisers and software to collect your data.
However, do not be discouraged. A lot of brilliant people are thinking of ways to really make the internet a place where everyone can enjoy freedom without fear of being harmed and invaded. Cryptocurrencies are one of the means that has been developed to fight off invasion of privacy. Virtual private networks, by encrypting the data packets that you send and receive when using your computer, is also a means to help people maintain their privacy and security.
Overtime, there will be more and more inventions and methods by which you will be protected while using the internet. The ultimate and most immediate solution, however, is for governments and states to really define the line between private space and public space in the digital world. And it doesn’t stop there. Governments must also develop laws to protect everyone in the digital world.