Internet Safety

New technologies have provided society with more ways to record and keep information about its people, but this has led to a loss of privacy. The loss of privacy is justified by the benefits gained.

The recent growth of technology in the 21st century has allowed society to utilise certain tools that enhance communication and benefit from these technological developments. However, the Internet and social media platforms have now become a necessity in our daily lives, with people of all ages being influenced by modern technological advances. Through this transformation, access to personal information through the means of social media platforms has become an effortless task for almost anyone. Since it is the sole purpose of social media to share personal details of your life with others, most users wish to display personal content on the Internet without experiencing any issues. Contrastingly, personal security and privacy are crucial in social media platforms, and due to either the ignorance or abuse of certain features on social media, many members of society have found their privacy to be invaded. Although technology and social media have their advantages, it is not enough to justify the invasion of privacy that people are experiencing as a consequence.

As many members of society are comfortable with utilising technological devices for their maximum benefit, many tend to store their personal details on such devices. This personal information can include anything from Social Security numbers to bank account or credit card details. It is understandable that quick access is available if our information is stored in such a way, however it’s ignorant to think that the information is safe and will be completely removed from the memory once deleted, especially since deleted information can be easily recovered. The recovery of deleted information on the Internet was explored in a research paper by four scientists:

“SQLite is a small-sized database engine largely used in embedded devices and local application software. The availability of portable devices, such as smartphones, has been extended over the recent years and has contributed to growing adaptation of SQLite. This implies a high likelihood of digital evidences acquired during forensic investigations to include SQLite database files. Where intentional deletion of sensitive data can be made by a suspect, forensic investigators need to recover deleted records in SQLite at the best possible. This study analyzes data management rules used by SQLite and the structure of deleted data in the system and in turn suggests a recovery tool of deleted data. Further, the study examines major SQLite suited software as it validates feasible possibility of deleted data recovery.”

 If you opt to store your personal information on your laptop, phone, or computer, then you’re putting your personal information at risk for strangers, hackers, or identity thieves to gain access to it. There have been several instances of identity theft in recent times, with over 770,000 Australians being victims of identity theft, with each victim losing an average of $4000. This has been the result of technology allowing hackers to access personal details of people and in a survey conducted by Veda, their head of cybercrime, Fiona Long stated the following about how identity theft occurs on the Internet:

 “We are all doing more and sharing more online and if we leave ourselves vulnerable, identity thieves can steal information like passwords, personal data and financial details without our knowledge. Criminals have many ways to obtain information in order to commit identity theft. They use bank-related hoax emails, theft of mail and of wallets and bags and search through rubbish bins.”

Due to the carelessness of people in ensuring the security of their personal information, the loss of privacy is highly prevalent through the means of technology.

Besides tracking your location, our devices, such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, are also tracking our online activity through tracking cookies, or data sent from a website and saved to your Web browser. These cookies create a blueprint of websites you visited on the Internet and can even contribute—using third-party cookies —to the personalized advertisements you see on various websites. Cookies even have the ability to save such personal information as your address, credit card number, and passwords for certain websites. When you enter a Web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing personal information; like your name, e-mail address, and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your Web browser, which then stores the information for later use. The next time you go to the same Web site, your browser will send the cookie to the Web server. The message is sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. Once again, if this information falls into the wrong hands, it leads to serious consequences as this information can be personal and the fact that other people could potentially be able to access it is undoubtedly a loss of privacy. This is the result of technological advances in modern times.

People are currently more prone to privacy invasion due to the development of the Internet. Once an individual posts something on the web, it stays on the web. Pictures, phone numbers, social security numbers, emails, work information- anything needed for fraud can be found on the web or through a company. Internet users post comments on Facebook or Twitter telling a friend to call them unknowingly leaving their number on that page. Users post their full names, date of birth, place of birth, pictures, and their place of residence. All this information adds up to a beautiful result to hackers and stalkers online. Evidently, technological advances have allowed us to develop significantly as a society; however, it is essential to exercise caution when using technology, as invasion of privacy is highly common. Unfortunately, it is not justifiable with the benefits gained from the development of technology.

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