Internet is one of the biggest revolutions of the 21st Century. It has changed the course of our lives. Pre-Internet life sounds alienated to the current generations, where you required a bulky encyclopedia to extract information or where communication was a tough virtue. Because of the internet, our lives have become more manageable. Many phenomena that were merely fiction are our realities today. You can shop online and order anything from anywhere without moving on your couch. We can track the location of our car on live Google maps while video calling our friends overseas. These breakthroughs were unimaginable before. Similarly, the internet initiated and enabled numerous industries of the modern world that are generating employment and revenues for the people around the world. Undeniably, it has become a fundamental need of humans in the 21st Century.
However, the internet has come under scrutiny, and the world is questioning its evil and unethical side. We all are aware of the revelations of Edward Snowden about online surveillance. Facebook has already lost its credibility because of its position in the compromised elections of the USA. Thus, we all are not safe and free on the internet. Therefore, we all need to understand the concept of “Internet Privacy.” It is more than just browse the internet privately, and we must understand its importance to get away from the possible harm it can do.
Let us explore in-depth to understand the importance of internet privacy and why we should take it seriously.
- Privacy is Your Right:
Privacy, by definition, means freedom from being monitored or getting attention or someone accessing your information without your consent. Internet Privacy or Digital Privacy means to limit the government or private companies to access your details or information without your permission. The amount of influence someone can have over you depends on the amount of information they have about you. Personal information, like your behavior, interests, preferences, and choices, can be used to manipulate or affect your decision or shape your behavior.
Conventionally, companies accessed our data to improve and customize our user experience as per our preferences. Still, nowadays, companies are using such data to intrigue us to buy their products or services. Therefore, it is our ethical responsibility to protect ourselves through VPNs and secure systems.
- Online Trust:
Trust is a man’s virtue in any relationship, whether personal or professional. Confidentiality breach is the breach of trust. In our commercial or professional relationships with our lawyers, doctors, or therapist, we reveal personal or private information to get a better understanding and better solutions. However, it is expected that such information would remain confidential and would not be used in any matter whatsoever. The digital revelation of private information these days is not secure, and therefore, it can affect your sentiments in addition to your user experience.
- Social Boundaries:
People want to maintain social boundaries from others in society. Humans need solitude, solace, or retreat, where they can be free from the gaze and attention of others. Although such a phenomenon is mere fiction in the age of social media, people still do not want everyone to know everything about them. Online Privacy or Internet Privacy is essential because too much information revealed can cause social friction among people, as there are many things which are “none of your business.” Therefore, internet privacy is vital to maintain your social and mental distance from society.
- Protection from Theft and Identity:
It is essential to protect your identity and possessions as it can be misused if stolen and can cause you financial and mental losses. Similarly, your digital identity is extremely valuable too. Your details, passwords, social security number, etc. can be used to apply for loans under your name or to access your bank account. That is one of the reasons; one needs to be mindful where to give out crucial information. Therefore, it is essential to keep the windows firewall every time and use anti-virus to detect malware and websites, which can be harmful for your personal information.
- Business and Reputational Risks:
From the business point-of-view, data privacy and protection are crucial and fundamental business risks. These days, online businesses are booming, and several companies are acquiring digital space. Customers are interacting with businesses online; therefore, their online information is confidential and valuable to the companies. Any breach or malware attack to steal customer database and information can be an aggressive attack for the business. As the world has seen that, companies with data breaches got charged with heavy, hefty penalties, fines, or even closure of the business. If not the closure, it will still lose the credibility and trust of customers and the audience altogether. Hence, internet privacy is a fundamental matter for any digital business too.
Internet is a place of possibilities, but it is also exposed to some ethical dilemmas as the other conventional businesses. Privacy is a fundamental human right; however, it can be manipulated by many for their advantage. Therefore, the onus lies on the user itself as they are the ones exposed the most.