The digital age is providing people with many innovative opportunities at the price of privacy violations. The opportunities range from keeping of data and information efficiently and remote working to online financial transactions like electronic banking and shopping on the internet. On the contrary, the national and international security system lacks mechanisms to curb hackers and third party interceptors who can gain access to sensitive information and data stored in different sectors of the socioeconomic system and break in remotely to damage or steal access passwords and usernames.
Digital age has revealed the use of small electronic gadgets to gain access to social services like a medical care from the office or home through a computer or a phone. Communication is also efficient in the digital world where social websites connect people in real time though virtually enhancing easy screen-to-screen communication that can be compared to face-to-face conversation. However, controversies have arisen concerning the privacy of digitalized information stored in the World Wide Web where access can be forged. The aim of this paper is to compare and contrast the controversies surrounding privacy in a digital age.
The digital age is a facilitating collection of information through the internet. When individuals use the internet, they leave behind transaction data. Transaction data is a source of information about an individual’s habits in terms of commerce providing vital conglomerate data to an association of hackers who can gain entry to financial institutions and transact funds by using a password and access code only. Contrastingly, the traditional print age allowed data to be stored physically thus protecting all data from unauthorized entry since every transaction was done at the presence of both parties. Transaction data include the IP address of the computer, the computer type, the browser, and the actions the user of the computer was doing previously on the internet that can be intercepted without the knowledge of the owners unlike the old age when access was gained through forceful entry only. Other people might use this information to identify the individual and reveal private profile which is illegal. A person may assemble the information to reveal the layout of a person’s life. Privacy entails the protection of individual personal information. The use of the internet, therefore, brings about serious privacy violations.
The use of mobile phones in the digital age also does not favor privacy. The use of mobile phones involves leaving the information about the activities one was performing with the phone. The information includes the phone numbers, messages sent and recipients’ addresses and numbers that are an easy target for online sham activities through which countless people have lost money. The mobile operators keep a tract of all the other information too. The information is accessible to other people threatening the privacy of an individual.
Personal information submitted to professionals such as doctors, banks, and merchants should remain undisclosed to the public according to the United States’ laws controlling commerce and internet security. The professionals or organizations use the information to tend to their customers. The professionals/organizations will mostly digitize the information either offline or online to enhance fast access by both parties. However, employees can collaborate with hackers by revealing sensitive information to benefit since digitalized information is accessible to many people in the organization who use the same system or network. For example, the information that a patient gives to the doctor is accessible to many other workers in the hospital, the same case with information that a client gives to the bank. The information is accessible to many others as the system of the hospital or the bank is open to all its authorized workers. Other people may spy the digital systems or crack codes of the system getting access to the information. The people may use the information for other purposes that the owner did not intend. Digital age, therefore, easily infringes personal privacy unless strict regulations are laid to keep all access codes as a deep secret by using secure internet connections with internet security.
The digital age has brought about social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The social networks help friends and families to keep in constant touch via the internet. People are able to write messages to each other, share videos and information on the internet. However, this brings a serious breach in the privacy of the individuals that use the said options. Therefore, it is unlikely that one would have his privacy while using the social networks. When an individual uses the social networks, personal information is left within the database of the network. The network keeps a record of the activities that an individual does like the names of the people he sends messages to, and those he is in communication with. People retrieve this information from the networks and may use the information against the persons. Employers can track social website information to use the same date against employees. For instance, school administrators try to get to know students’ weekend and holiday activities through social networks to map and profile character. Spouses are using the information to get a cheating partner. The social networks are, therefore, infringing on individuals’ privacy by revealing secret information.
Despite the contrasts of privacy in a digital world , there are similarities. Digital age also enhances privacy. The use of passwords in digital systems is enhancing privacy unlike the past when one filled a form that was easily accessible to everyone without discrimination; with internet, individuals can use password to protect their online documents. Passwords ensure that only those who have them are able to access information in a particular digital system. It is safe to make use of passwords when accessing personal information to hinder intruders from accessing personal private data. However, people are able to crack these passwords and gain access to the passwords. With specialized programs, cracking the codes is becoming harder hence improving privacy.
Encryption when using emails also enhances privacy. Encryption involves distorting a message using a specific computer program. The recipient decrypts the distorted message back to its original form and is able to read the message. Encryption ensures that any person who does not have the decrypting program cannot read the message before it reaches the recipient. The technology, therefore, enhances the privacy of the people communicating. Simple encryption codes may be unsafe as crackers might crack the codes; however, elimination of the problem is through using complex encryption codes. In the digital age, there are also anonymous mailers and web browsers that enable individuals to communicate anonymously. The mailers and the browsers enhance privacy.
To conclude, privacy is a controversial issue but with the internet security remote transactions have became available remotely. Individuals are no longer able to keep private information away from unauthorized access at a fee due to the complexity of the digital age innovations. The information the internet and other digital technology devices users are leaving is compromising on the individual privacy. On the other hand, technologies like encryption and anonymous mailers favor privacy so that the organizations ought to invest in trustworthy security systems.