Is Online Privacy Dead?
Americans value their privacy. Or do they? We lock our doors, close our windows, shut our shades at night, and secure our homes and cars when we aren’t around. However, we also carry cell phones and drive cars outfitted with GPS trackers and post on social media which can indicate to the whole world where we are and who we are with. So which is it? Is online privacy important or not?
Some tech experts believe that privacy is in danger and, without the right safeguards, all of our lives are an open book for anyone who is interested from our medical test results to who we last spoke to on the phone.
Other tech specialists believe that we still have some semblance of privacy and, with the right safeguards, we can maintain even more privacy.
Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy was widely reported to have declared some time ago (1999) that, “Privacy is dead, deal with it.” He pointed to American’s early love affair with technology that has only increased in the last twenty years. The digital age, while rich with conveniences and fun software applications to keep us “connected” and “plugged-in” has an evil twin. Her name is synonymous with the demise of privacy.
Jacob Morgan, Contributor for Forbes online magazine, believes that privacy’s demise was brought on by us. He points out in his article entitled: “Privacy Is Completely And Utterly Dead, And We Killed It,” that with the dawn of social media and software apps came user agreements where each online user must check that they have read the terms and conditions and will comply with them. When was the last time you actually read the fine print? These free platforms have privacy agreements that most of us know nothing about. He also points out in his article that we play games, takes surveys, and fill out forms online like it is nothing. Each form, question, and identifier makes it easier for someone with malicious intent to invade your privacy.
Fast forward to 2019. Just in the last few weeks, we have seen multiple ransomware attacks, malicious hacking, and cybercrimes reach their highest points in years. Whether privacy is truly dead will be debated by scholars for years to come. The question remains, what safeguards can you and should you take to protect what little privacy you have left in the online world.
- Be careful what you put on social media, especially when you identify a location. These GPS trackers could help someone intent on piggybacking into your system next time you are connected to free WiFi at your favorite coffee shop that you keep posting about.
- When you visit a website, your browser discloses a bunch of stuff about you and your surfing history. Evade tracking by using private browsing when possible and check out tools that can protect you from web tracking.
- Use dual encryption and safe passwords. Use a VPN when browsing outside of your office or home.
- Be sure that your medical and dental practices are following the most stringent HIPAA compliance protocols.
Do you have questions about your privacy at home or in your business? Contact Spectra Networks. Our specialties include privacy and HIPAA compliance. Call us at 978.219.9752 or visit our website.