Internet privacy; should you be worried?

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This week our hot topic takes a look at Privacy: Why worry? You can trust GOOGLE (and others) to do no harm. The cost and ability to collect information has declined to the point where it is possible for anyone to gather personal information on customers. This has resulted in laws (PPIDA) yet concerns continue to persist about the protection and misuse of personal data.


Why worry?

  • Although the Canadian Privacy Act came into effect on July 1, 1983 at the federal level, traditional laws do not apply to the online virtual world and cannot dictate any actions conducted online.
  • Users feel that they need more protection and as such third parties have responded. E.g. Google revised privacy policy regarding stored information etc. was recreated to make it easier to understand.
  • Due to laws and regulations in different countries, people are extremely concerned regarding privacy as arms of the public sector (such as police) have the ability to obtain information without consent. We don’t want big brother watching over our every move.
  • As quick, convenient and cheap internet communication are is as insecure as it is quick, convenient, and cheap.


Why not to worry?

  • Bill C-50 is improving privacy and allowing only certain individuals/groups are legally allowed to intercept communications.
  • Bill C-51 will cease government investigating powers. The bill would make it mandatory for telecom providers, ISPs and search engines to monitor, store, retain and not disclose e-mail, Internet and telephone communications at the request of law and security officials.
  • Websites share information online for use with other users, publishers and advertisers. This makes for better targeted marketing, bringing users what they want without them having to search for it.
  • The sharing of information is a powerful tool. Websites like share stories to help scientific research.


My final thought


Just as you would with every other aspect of your life; as an individual it is your ultimate decision what you decide to share online. Although many feel safe within the confines of Google and Facebook, never forget that even the biggest companies are vulnerable e.g. Sony PlayStation Network hacked: 77 million accounts stolen. Just because you don’t think it will happen to do, doesn’t mean it won’t. Just as no one ever expects to get into a car accident, one should not expect that they are 100% safe online.

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