Why should I worry about privacy and security? I’m not a criminal or a terrorist. I’ve got nothing to hide. These are things that most people think. They also believe the internet is much more secure and that their personal information is only available to them, whereas this is actually quite wrong.
There are more reasons to want to protect your privacy than can be named. The important principal is that you have a right to privacy as long as that right is used within the bounds of the law. Seeking privacy should not make you feel guilty. Privacy should be expected, and demanded. The reasons might be as simple as preserving your right to express unpopular opinions without being subjected to persecution, or as serious as communicating sensitive business information, revealing credit card numbers, legal discussions with your accountant, or hiding your true identity from a secret government. Regardless of your reasons, privacy is your right. Contrary to what some governing bodies might want the public to believe, not all those concerned with security and privacy are hackers or terrorists.
The internet provides one of the easiest communications tools ever afforded by mankind. It is quick, convenient, cheap….and as insecure as it is quick, convenient, and cheap. A message sent many months ago may remain on an ISP’s server or as a backup, and can be easily retrieved by anyone who knows how to do so. This is information which you personally have deleted for a reason – not to be accessed by someone else after you have finished with it. There have been times where information has be retrieved up to 6 months after, and used in a court case as evidence.
It can be quite simple for someone to intercept your messages or information if they want it. This may be just an administrator of your ISP or your office network. Or it might be a business competitor, legal foe, or government agency, with much more serious intentions.
There are an abundant means available to protect online privacy. Some are large and complex while others are extremely simple. The important fact is that some methods are almost totally lacking in security while others are practically bulletproof.
It is an all too common misconception that anonymity equals privacy. Anonymity and privacy may be related, but their significance is quite different.
Do you wonder what other people know about you? Cookies are available on certain websites, and these small files are placed on your computer and record data which most often contains information that the user would rather be kept secure. Information including passwords, credit card numbers and where the user has been.
There are hundreds of web-based email services that appear to offer anonymity. Few really do. These include names such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Excite and many more that could be listed. In each of these cases, the user is allowed to create a personal username that he uses for his messages. Unfortunately, through sign-up procedures and logging, it is amazingly simple to determine your ISP, and even your true identity, when you use these services.
Who wants to know what you’re saying? It might be a nosey fellow employee, your employer, your ISP, a competitor, friend, or legal team. Regardless of who wants to, it is remarkably easy for someone else to read what you write. It is common sense to protect information that you don’t want others to know, and people should ensure that they go to some lengths to do so.
There are a large number of nonprofit organizations that specialize in protecting your rights to privacy. It is time well spent to visit these sites, as you can learn what the current laws are, what is being proposed, and what is being done to protect privacy.