The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

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You Have No Privacy on the Internet
When I got to the page, here's what I saw: Privacy is no longer only about what you say or disclose about yourself online. Privacy Download privacy thumbnail Policy Brief Slides: Learning to Protect your Online Identity, http: General concerns regarding Internet user privacy have become enough of a concern for a UN agency to issue a report on the dangers of identity fraud.

Multi-party menace

Internet privacy

However, in practice programmers can circumvent this restriction. Cookies do have benefits that many people may not know. One benefit is that for websites that one frequently visits that require a password, cookies make it so they do not have to sign in every time. A cookie can also track one's preferences to show them websites that might interest them. Cookies make more websites free to use without any type of payment.

Some of these benefits are also seen as negative. For example, one of the most common ways of theft is hackers taking one's username and password that a cookie saves. While a lot of sites are free, they have to make a profit somehow so they sell their space to advertisers.

These ads, which are personalized to one's likes, can often freeze one's computer or cause annoyance. Cookies are mostly harmless except for third-party cookies. These third-party cookies are so dangerous because they take the same information that regular cookies do, such as browsing habits and frequently visited websites, but then they give out this information to other companies. These windows are an irritation because they are often hard to close out of because the close button is strategically hidden in an unlikely part of the screen.

In the worst cases, these pop-up ads can take over the screen and while trying to exit out of it, can take one to another unwanted website. Cookies are seen so negatively because they are not understood and go unnoticed while someone is simply surfing the Internet. The idea that every move one makes while on the Internet is being watched, would frighten most users.

Some users choose to disable cookies in their web browsers. All significant web browsers have this disabling ability built-in, with no external program required. As an alternative, users may frequently delete any stored cookies.

Some browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera offer the option to clear cookies automatically whenever the user closes the browser. A third option involves allowing cookies in general, but preventing their abuse. There are also a host of wrapper applications that will redirect cookies and cache data to some other location.

Concerns exist that the privacy benefits of deleting cookies have been over-stated. The process of profiling also known as "tracking" assembles and analyzes several events, each attributable to a single originating entity, in order to gain information especially patterns of activity relating to the originating entity. Some organizations engage in the profiling of people's web browsing, collecting the URLs of sites visited.

The resulting profiles can potentially link with information that personally identifies the individual who did the browsing. Some web-oriented marketing-research organizations may use this practice legitimately, for example: Such profiles, which describe average trends of large groups of Internet users rather than of actual individuals, can then prove useful for market analysis. Although the aggregate data does not constitute a privacy violation, some people believe that the initial profiling does.

Profiling becomes a more contentious privacy issue when data-matching associates the profile of an individual with personally-identifiable information of the individual.

Governments and organizations may set up honeypot websites — featuring controversial topics — with the purpose of attracting and tracking unwary people. This constitutes a potential danger for individuals. When some users choose to disable HTTP cookie to reduce privacy risks as noted, new types of cookies were invented: In a study, Flash cookies were found to be a popular mechanism for storing data on the top most visited sites.

Flash cookies, also known as Local Shared Objects , work the same ways as normal cookies and are used by the Adobe Flash Player to store information at the user's computer.

They exhibit a similar privacy risk as normal cookies, but are not as easily blocked, meaning that the option in most browsers to not accept cookies does not affect Flash cookies. One way to view and control them is with browser extensions or add-ons. Flash cookies are unlike HTTP cookies in a sense that they are not transferred from the client back to the server.

Web browsers read and write these cookies and can track any data by web usage. However, the Flash player browser plugin can be disabled [29] or uninstalled, [30] and Flash cookies can be disabled on a per-site or global basis.

Adobe's Flash and PDF Reader are not the only browser plugins whose past security defects [31] have allowed spyware or malware to be installed: Evercookies , created by Samy Kamkar , [33] [34] are JavaScript-based applications which produce cookies in a web browser that actively "resist" deletion by redundantly copying themselves in different forms on the user's machine e. Evercookie accomplishes this by storing the cookie data in several types of storage mechanisms that are available on the local browser.

It has the ability to store cookies in over ten types of storage mechanisms so that once they are on one's computer they will never be gone. Additionally, if evercookie has found the user has removed any of the types of cookies in question, it recreates them using each mechanism available. However, modern browsers and anti-malware software can now block or detect and remove such cookies.

Some anti-fraud companies have realized the potential of evercookies to protect against and catch cyber criminals. These companies already hide small files in several places on the perpetrator's computer but hackers can usually easily get rid of these.

The advantage to evercookies is that they resist deletion and can rebuild themselves. There is controversy over where the line should be drawn on the use of this technology. Cookies store unique identifiers on a person's computer that are used to predict what one wants. Many advertisement companies want to use this technology to track what their customers are looking at online. Evercookies enable advertisers to continue to track a customer regardless of if one deletes their cookies or not.

Some companies are already using this technology but the ethics are still being widely debated. Anonymizer nevercookies are part of a free Firefox plugin that protects against evercookies. This plugin extends Firefox's private browsing mode so that users will be completely protected from evercookies.

Device fingerprinting is a fairly new technology that is useful in fraud prevention and safeguarding any information from one's computer. Device fingerprinting uses data from the device and browser sessions to determine the risk of conducting business with the person using the device. ThreatMetrix is one of the leading vendors of device fingerprinting.

This company employs a number of techniques to prevent fraud. For example, ThreatMetrix will pierce the proxy to determine the true location of a device. It is difficult to surf the web without being tracked by device fingerprinting today. However, for people who do not want device fingerprinting, there are ways to attempt to block fingerprinting.

The only ways to stop device fingerprinting cause web browsing to be very slow and websites to display information incorrectly. Trying to avoid device fingerprinting is mostly just impractical and inconvenient. Fingerprints are tough to avoid because they are taken from data that are routinely passed from computers to websites automatically.

Even if someone changes something slightly, the fingerprinters can still recognize the machine. There is one way to figure out that a device is being fingerprinted. The software JavaScript can be used to collect fingerprinting data. If it asks a browser for specific information, that could be a clue that a fingerprinter is working. Companies that are most known for conducting fingerprinting are advertisers. This information in turn can be used to help differentiate legitimate users from those using false identities or those attempting to work anonymously.

Canvas fingerprinting is one of a number of browser fingerprinting techniques of tracking online users that allow websites to uniquely identify and track visitors using HTML5 canvas element instead of browser cookies or other similar means. Today many people have digital cameras and post their photographs online, for example street photography practitioners do so for artistic purposes and social documentary photography practitioners do so to document the common people in everyday life.

The people depicted in these photos might not want to have them appear on the Internet. Police arrest photos, considered public record in many jurisdictions, are often posted on the internet by numerous online mug shot publishing sites.

Some organizations attempt to respond to this privacy-related concern. For example, the Wikimania conference required that photographers have the prior permission of the people in their pictures, albeit this made it impossible for photographers to practice candid photography and doing the same in a public place would violate the photographers' free speech rights.

Some people wore a 'no photos' tag to indicate they would prefer not to have their photo taken. Facial Recognition and Privacy Law", much of it explaining how "privacy law, in its current form, is of no help to those unwillingly tagged. Furthermore, traditional tort law does not protect people who are captured by a photograph in public because this is not counted as an invasion of privacy. The extensive Facebook privacy policy covers these concerns and much more.

For example, the policy states that they reserve the right to disclose member information or share photos with companies, lawyers, courts, government entities, etc.

The policy also informs users that profile pictures are mainly to help friends connect to each other. In an article featured in ABC News, it was stated that two teams of scientists found out that Hollywood stars could be giving up information about their private whereabouts very easily through pictures uploaded to the Internet. Moreover, it was found that pictures taken by some phones and tablets including iPhones automatically attach the latitude and longitude of the picture taken through metadata unless this function is manually disabled.

Face recognition technology can be used to gain access to a person's private data, according to a new study. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined image scanning, cloud computing and public profiles from social network sites to identify individuals in the offline world.

Data captured even included a user's social security number. The researchers have also developed an 'augmented reality' mobile app that can display personal data over a person's image captured on a smartphone screen. Researchers believe this could force us to reconsider our future attitudes to privacy. Google Street View , released in the U.

This example further suggests that Google Street View may provide opportunities for privacy infringement and harassment through public dissemination of the photographs. Personal information can be revealed through searches by the user's computer, account, or IP address being linked to the search terms used. Search engines have claimed a necessity to retain such information in order to provide better services, protect against security pressure, and protect against fraud. Those in control of the database often keep records of where on the Internet each member has traveled to.

AOL has a database 21 million members deep, each with their own specific ID number. By keeping records of what people query through AOLSearch, the company is able to learn a great deal about them without knowing their names.

Search engines also are able to retain user information, such as location and time spent using the search engine, for up to ninety days. Most search engine operators use the data to get a sense of which needs must be met in certain areas of their field. People working in the legal field are also allowed to use information collected from these search engine websites. The Google search engine is given as an example of a search engine that retains the information entered for a period of three-fourths of a year before it becomes obsolete for public usage.

Other search engines such as Ask! Beginning in , Google began to run a new system where the Google search became personalized. The item that is searched and the results that are shown remembers previous information that pertains to the individual. Google search engine not only seeks what is searched, but also strives to allow the user to feel like the search engine recognizes their interests. This is achieved by using online advertising.

Another function of search engines is the predictability of location. Search engines are able to predict where one's location is currently by locating IP Addresses and geographical locations. Google had publicly stated on January 24, , that its privacy policy will once again be altered. This new policy will change the following for its users: This new privacy policy is planned to come into effect on March 1, Google will collect information to better service its users such as their language, which ads they find useful or people that are important to them online.

Google announces they will use this information to provide, maintain, protect Google and its users. The information Google uses will give users more relevant search results and advertisements. The new privacy policy explains that Google can use shared information on one service in other Google services from people who have a Google account and are logged in. Google will treat a user as a single user across all of their products.

Google claims the new privacy policy will benefit its users by being simpler. Even though Google is updating their privacy policy, its core privacy guidelines will not change. For example, Google does not sell personal information or share it externally. Because this policy gathers all information and data searched from multiple engines when logged into Google, and uses it to help assist users, privacy becomes an important element.

Public officials and Google account users are worried about online safety because of all this information being gathered from multiple sources. Some users do not like the overlapping privacy policy, wishing to keep the service of Google separate.

The European Union has asked Google to delay the onset of the new privacy policy in order to ensure that it does not violate E. This move is in accordance with objections to decreasing online privacy raised in other foreign nations where surveillance is more heavily scrutinized. The new privacy policy only heightens unresolved concerns regarding user privacy. An additional feature of concern to the new Google privacy policy is the nature of the policy.

One must accept all features or delete existing Google accounts. Customizing the privacy settings of a social network is a key tactic that many feel is necessary for social networking sites.

Many using pseudonyms are concerned about this possibility, and defend the role of pseudonyms in literature and history. Some solutions to being able to protect user privacy on the Internet can include programs such as "Rapleaf" which is a website that has a search engine that allows users to make all of one's search information and personal information private. Other websites that also give this option to their users are Facebook and Amazon. Search engines such as Startpage.

Some of the most notable Privacy-focused search-engines are:. The advent of the Web 2. These social networking sites have seen a boom in their popularity starting from the late s. Through these websites many people are giving their personal information out on the internet.

It has been a topic of discussion of who is held accountable for the collection and distribution of personal information. Some will say that it is the fault of the social networks because they are the ones who are storing the vast amounts of information and data, but others claim that it is the users who are responsible for the issue because it is the users themselves that provide the information in the first place.

This relates to the ever-present issue of how society regards social media sites. There is a growing number of people that are discovering the risks of putting their personal information online and trusting a website to keep it private.

Yet in a recent study, researchers found that young people are taking measures to keep their posted information on Facebook private to some degree. Examples of such actions include managing their privacy settings so that certain content can be visible to "Only Friends" and ignoring Facebook friend requests from strangers. Data lifted from the private messages was then used for targeted advertising, the plaintiffs claimed. It is an increasing risk because younger people are having easier internet access than ever before, therefore they put themselves in a position where it is all too easy for them to upload information, but they may not have the caution to consider how difficult it can be to take that information down once it is out in the open.

This is becoming a bigger issue now that so much of society interacts online which was not the case fifteen years ago. In addition, because of the quickly evolving digital media arena, people's interpretation of privacy is evolving as well, and it is important to consider that when interacting online. New forms of social networking and digital media such as Instagram and Snapchat may call for new guidelines regarding privacy.

What makes this difficult is the wide range of opinions surrounding the topic, so it is left mainly up to our judgement to respect other people's online privacy in some circumstances. Sometimes it may be necessary to take extra precautions in situations where somebody else may have a tighter view on privacy ethics. No matter the situation it is beneficial to know about the potential consequences and issues that can come from careless activity on social networks. All data transmitted to and from users must pass through the ISP.

Thus, an ISP has the potential to observe users' activities on the Internet. However, ISPs are usually prohibited from participating in such activities due to legal, ethical, business, or technical reasons. Normally ISPs do collect at least some information about the consumers using their services. From a privacy standpoint, ISPs would ideally collect only as much information as they require in order to provide Internet connectivity IP address, billing information if applicable, etc.

Which information an ISP collects, what it does with that information, and whether it informs its consumers, pose significant privacy issues. Beyond the usage of collected information typical of third parties, ISPs sometimes state that they will make their information available to government authorities upon request. In the US and other countries, such a request does not necessarily require a warrant. An ISP cannot know the contents of properly-encrypted data passing between its consumers and the Internet.

For encrypting web traffic, https has become the most popular and best-supported standard. Even if users encrypt the data, the ISP still knows the IP addresses of the sender and of the recipient. However, see the IP addresses section for workarounds. Additional software has been developed that may provide more secure and anonymous alternatives to other applications. For example, Bitmessage can be used as an alternative for email and Cryptocat as an alternative for online chat.

On the other hand, in addition to End-to-End encryption software, there are web services such as Qlink [68] which provide privacy through a novel security protocol which does not require installing any software. While signing up for internet services, each computer contains a unique IP, Internet Protocol address. This particular address will not give away private or personal information, however, a weak link could potentially reveal information from one's ISP.

General concerns regarding Internet user privacy have become enough of a concern for a UN agency to issue a report on the dangers of identity fraud.

T-Mobile USA doesn't store any information on web browsing. Verizon Wireless keeps a record of the websites a subscriber visits for up to a year. Virgin Mobile keeps text messages for three months. Verizon keeps text messages for three to five days. None of the other carriers keep texts of messages at all, but they keep a record of who texted who for over a year.

Virgin Mobile keeps that data for two to three months. HTML defines how user agents, such as web browsers, are to present websites based upon their underlying code. This new web standard changes the way that users are affected by the internet and their privacy on the internet. HTML5 expands the number of methods given to a website to store information locally on a client as well as the amount of data that can be stored. As such, privacy risks are increased.

For instance, merely erasing cookies may not be enough to remove potential tracking methods since data could be mirrored in web storage , another means of keeping information in a user's web browser.

As the power of web standards increases, so do potential misuses. HTML5 also expands access to user media, potentially granting access to a computer's microphone or webcam, a capability previously only possible through the use of plug-ins like Flash. With this expanded access comes increased potential for abuse as well as more vectors for attackers. However, the World Wide Web Consortium , responsible for many web standards, feels that the increased capabilities of the web platform outweigh potential privacy concerns.

Besides elevating privacy concerns, HTML5 also adds a few tools to enhance user privacy. A mechanism is defined whereby user agents can share blacklists of domains that should not be allowed to access web storage. These new features formalize previously inconsistent implementations, reducing the number of vulnerabilities though not eliminating them entirely. Big Data is generally defined as the rapid accumulation and compiling of massive amounts of information that is being exchanged over digital communication systems.

The data is large often exceeding exabytes and cannot be handled by conventional computer processors, and are instead stored on large server-system databases. This information is assessed by analytic scientists using software programs; which paraphrase this information into multi-layered user trends and demographics.

Big Data provides companies with the ability to:. According to Nicklas Lundblad , another perspective on privacy protection is the assumption that the quickly growing amount of information produced will be beneficial.

The reasons for this are that the costs for the surveillance will raise and that there is more noise, noise being understood as anything that interferes the process of a receiver trying to extract private data from a sender. In this noise society, the collective expectation of privacy will increase, but the individual expectation of privacy will decrease.

In other words, not everyone can be analyzed in detail, but one individual can be. Also, in order to stay unobserved, it can hence be better to blend in with the others than trying to use for example encryption technologies and similar methods. Technologies for this can be called Jante-technologies after the Law of Jante, which states that you are nobody special.

This view offers new challenges and perspectives for the privacy discussion. Furthermore, if the user has already done business with a company, or is previously familiar with a product, they have a tendency to not read the privacy policies that the company has posted. Finally, consumers have been found to avoid reading the privacy policies if the policies are not in a simple format, and even perceive these policies to be irrelevant.

While dealing with the issue of internet privacy, one must first be concerned with not only the technological implications such as damaged property, corrupted files, and the like, but also with the potential for implications on their real lives. One such implication, which is rather commonly viewed as being one of the most daunting fears risks of the Internet, is the potential for identity theft.

Although it is a typical belief that larger companies and enterprises are the usual focus of identity thefts, rather than individuals, recent reports seem to show a trend opposing this belief. But how, one might ask, is this still thriving given the increasing emphasis on internet security? These pieces of information can range from generic things such as a user account or email to something as personal as a bank account number and PIN.

While the processes these internet thieves use are abundant and unique, one popular trap unsuspecting people fall into is that of online purchasing. This is not to allude to the idea that every purchase one makes online will leave them susceptible to identity theft, but rather that it increases the chances.

This is assumed to be a result of the larger consumer population and purchases, which allow for more potential leeway with information. As one of the largest growing concerns American adults have of current Internet privacy policies, identity and credit theft remain a constant figure in the debate surrounding privacy online. A study by the Boston Consulting Group showed that participants of the study were most concerned about their privacy on the Internet compared to any other media. Though some may call it a modern-day version of McCarthyism, another prevalent issue also remains members of our own society sending disconcerting emails to one another.

It is for this reason in that for one of the first times ever the public demonstrated an approval of government intervention in their private lives. With the overall public anxiety regarding the constantly expanding trend of online crimes, in roughly fifty-four percent of Americans polled showed a general approval for the FBI monitoring those emails deemed suspicious. Young people are certainly sharing more information about themselves through social media than before, and they sometimes get caught out.

Recently, a year-old boy who sent a naked photo of himself to a girl on Snapchat found that the incident had been recorded by police. But perhaps parents could have a little more faith — the same report indicates that teens are being vigilant about their online privacy in different ways.

The researchers found that: Privacy is no longer only about what you say or disclose about yourself online. Privacy is becoming a collective phenomenon.

At the moment, mainstream social media only gives control over privacy settings to those who upload photos — not those who are in them. Take a simple but illustrative example: At the University of Lancaster, we have been looking at how multi-party privacy conflicts emerge, and how we might be able to solve them. The biggest challenge will be to make sure that users have the tools they need to keep up with these changes, and protect their privacy as they see fit.

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