The right to privacy in America in a basic right, but the new advances in technology threaten this right. With a drastically increasing amount of people using Internet and online services their privacy is at stake and most of them don’t even know it. Online services are private communities for subscribers only. They are not actually the Internet, but a private service with their own features. However most online services such as America Online offer Internet access through their service and they do take steps to protect you from fraud over the Internet.
Unfortunately direct Internet access providers leaves your protection completely in your own hands, since they are merely providing you with a connection. This problem with privacy is not only one that reaches everyone in America but reaches everyone in the world with a computer . Due to the sheer magnitude and potential of this problem it is very difficult to advocate because it reaches everywhere.
Thousands of people everyday log onto online services and Internet services, but how secure are their transactions and affairs. More and more people are using online methods to purchase items over the Internet, but how secure is their credit card and billing information? Most of the services provide encryption to protect consumers from fraud, but many others offer no kind of protection to keep consumers information private. Also our privacy can be violated in different ways such as access to personal medical records.
Many employers like checking out possible employees for and mental or physical health risk that may occur while in their employment, which seems reasonable enough. However access to this information could be highly misused by anyone with a motive. Currently there is no law to protect medical information on the Internet, but are strong laws protecting video rental list. Anyone with computer and the right tools could most likely find out all your medical information, but they wouldn’t be able to find out what you rented from Blockbuster the other night.
One such incident occurred to navy sailor, Timothy McVeigh(No relation to the bomber). McVeigh was accused of breaking the Navy’s Don’t ask, Don’t tell, Don’t pursue policy and he was discharged from the service.
Upon an investigation it was later found out that the evidence supporting his dismissal was obtained from America Online, which is the nations largest online service. This was clearly an invasion of authority and the information was obtained illegally. McVeigh sued the navy for his unfair dismissal and he won.
“McVeigh’s lawsuit is the first case to challenge governmental access to
sensitive subscriber information maintained by an online service. In a
statement issued when the suit was filed last week. It is an
important test of federal privacy law that will determine whether
government agents can violate the law with impunity, or whether they will
be held accountable for illegal conduct in cyberspace.
EPIC noted that
the incident also raises serious questions concerning the adequacy of
contractual privacy protections like those contained in the AOL
subscriber agreement.” Published by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Many other Internet users face yet another kind of privacy violation, which stops them from visiting certain Web sites or engaging in certain topics for fear that their personal information might be revealed then or at a later time. Many people will not visit an AIDS, abortion , or sex site in fear of their personal information being violated. This is keeping people from voicing their views and learning more about a topic that might be controversial.
Many companies like LEXIS-NEXIS develop a public record database used to store personal information, although nothing of serious consequence. The information was made available to anyone who knew how to look it up on the Internet. When people who were on the list found out that this was being done they were furious and demanded that their names be taken off the list.
There are certain ways to avoid having your personal information distributed simply by visiting a web site. One way of having anonymity is if you are accessing the web through an online service then all the web site could find out about you is that you are accessing them through an .