Do you ever get that feeling you are being watched?
One second, you’re talking about a new TV show with your friends and the next minute it is being advertised all over the television. Or even looking at a new pair of shoes and then you can’t scroll through social media without seeing those shoes on every advert.
Not entirely. It happens to every single person that uses the internet. And why is this? The lack of privacy the internet gives us. It is spying on us…it is watching us.
Privacy on the internet is becoming a huge concern to many people now. And although technology has given us this infinite and instant access to the internet. It means we are all at more of a risk than ever.
Those shoes you were looking at, that company is technically stalking you. Monitoring your every move. Predicting your behaviour to control and convince you into buying those shoes. And why is that. It’s all to do with Cookies.
When you’re just browsing on the internet and those previous web searches follow you through those annoying pop up ads, this is because your movement are in fact being tracked.
Cookie profiling is used to track what your activity online is like. It keeps a list of all your online habit’s and some may not be fussed by this because it can be seen as helpful. However, although cookies were created for a handy and helpful reason, in reality, they are a huge invasion of privacy.
I know when all you want to watch is vine compilations on YouTube and those pop-ups talking about cookies come up disrupting you from your 6 second of fun. But if it does concern you, just delete your cookies. As they are used by third-party companies, if you don’t like the fact that you feel you are being tracked, the simplest thing to do is to delete them. It can be done automatically so after every browsing session your computer automatically deletes them.
Also, with many internet exploring sites, there are now possibilities to ‘private browse’ things on the internet. However, this does nowhere mean that what you have searched is private at all. This just means that your browser won’t remember what you have searched, but third-party sites will still see what you are up to
I can tell you are thinking, everyone has them so how can they be that much of an invasion of privacy? However, it isn’t just tracking your shopping habits, but your activity of certain websites. And although this may not be a big deal, these cookies can actually be viruses. Supercookies are used by hackers in which they send viruses to people in order to gain personal information.
A very serious breach of privacy with the internet is that governments can track everything we do, and some governments do actually do this. They allegedly do it to assist law agencies such as the MI5 or FBI in order to ‘protect the country’.
In Asia, countries such as China have very very strict surveillance laws when it comes to internet activity. They have technology such as facial recognition to access to their 1.4 billion citizens photos and videos. China is becoming a terrifying place as there is limited privacy when it comes to their digital lives. Even companies in China have to monitor phone records of their situation.
However, luckily for you, the UK is a little different. The UK have something called the Data Protection Act which controls how your personal information is used by companies and the government.
In the UK we have a right to be informed that our information is being used and can actually choose to have the data erased. So our laws are incredibly more protective of our privacy in other places such as China.
As I touched upon last week technology has revolutionised our lives. And with technology has come the Cloud. The Cloud is something that has become such an essential and helpful tool in people’s lives.
The Cloud is used mainly for storage in everyday people’s lives using clouds such as iCloud and Dropbox.
However, although backing up things such as photos and documents to the Cloud may seem like a good thing so you’ll never lose them, this can lead to your personal things becoming well…. not so personal.
The most well-known scandal to do with the cloud feature, was the iCloud scandal. This saw private celebrity photographs released on the internet and published all over social media. Apple denied that there were any security problems with the iCloud and claim the celebrities affected were affected due to phishing emails to the celeb affected in order to get their log-in credentials to the iCloud.
Although there was no security problem with the iCloud, it is still a point that although it was in their private iCloud account, anything you put out there is not completely private. With Apple, any images that are taken, any messages that are sent and any documents that are saved are automatically uploaded to the iCloud, unless this option is turned off. Therefore, immediately you are putting yourself at risk from any breaches of privacy
However, with the internet, this bring social media into the picture. And with social media there are so many privacy issues and problems, especially with recent scandals. That is why next week’s post will be talking about social media and the impact this has on our privacy.
So, have a very Merry Christmas and remember, stay cyber safe.