Ways Technology Invades Privacy

As human beings, each and every one of us is entitled to a right to privacy and whenever anything threatens this guaranteed privacy we normally make efforts that prohibit extensive violation. As technology advances and expand, some cases of privacy invasion emerge too (Watts, 2016). In essence, technology has provided different options for helping people in maintaining their privacy according to their situation. Similarly, the same technology has enhanced the instances of privacy invasion making it almost impossible for everyone to have their total privacy. There are technological devices and programs which are helpful in enhancing privacy though they can also be utilized in invading one’s privacy too. In the current generation, our modern society experiences several incidences and activities that invade privacy both on international and national levels (Watts, 2016). Technology enhances and propels privacy-invading criminal acts, nonetheless, crime also influences technology, thus forming a rancorous cycle.  Literally, technology helps to ease our work, technology also exposes us to threats of privacy invasion as it makes it easier for invaders to breach our privacy (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). There are different ways in which technology invades our privacy. Therefore, this paper is going to discuss various ways that technology invades privacy.

Privacy on the internet becomes a big concern as it has been significantly invaded because of tracking as well as social profiling of users including their online habits. Entrepreneurs, governments, website platforms, as well as advertisers, are gathering online users’ data every day through different methods which can be utilized in studying, for security purposes as well as for economic advantage (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). In essence, small portions of data accrued from using shared data can likely be mixed together with an intent of revealing information which could be harmful or unpleasant to an individual or a group as they may perceive it as an invasion of privacy (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). Literally, the potential for the collection and analysis of these data can be distress when the information or data is disclosed to the government and entrepreneurs.

Social media platforms are gathering and analyzing the huge quantity of data of their users so as to establish a comprehensive social graph that will enhance and improve target advertisements that can facilitate the creation of an ethical dilemma constituting as sensitive user data as well as the variance that can exist between different users (“Technolgy Invading Privacy,” n.d.). For instance, a certain case attracted class-action lawsuits within the United States in the manner that Facebook would be tracking its users as well as the websites they surf through the ‘Recommendation’ and ‘Like’ buttons which the majority of websites incorporate the purposes of sharing.  In essence, Facebook would receive a notification whenever a user accessed a website which has the “like” button even though the button was not pressed or if the user just signed into his or her Facebook account (“Technolgy Invading Privacy,” n.d.). Moreover, because the shared data is accurate, the data may also be aimed with regard to the users’ interests, associations and also the employer. For instance, the majority of the information needed to facilitate the successful stealing of someone’s identity can possibly be found easily on social media platforms in which users participate. Other information needed for identity theft entails address, full name, and date of birth. With the large quantity of private information that is gathered and shared on social media platforms, this information is often invaded and there is a need to protect such information.

In the current modern society, technology has been applied to libraries which are currently raising issues of privacy invasion. Technology that has been implemented in libraries today is the Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) tracking tags as a means of controlling inventory in libraries (Raman & Pashupati, 2005). These tags are deemed to invade people’s privacy since they can be utilized in tracking residents and as well monitoring the reading habits of the library users through their gadgets since RFID tags can be activated thus being able to be used outside the library (Raman & Pashupati, 2005). This breaches the privacy of people as it exposes personal details and tracks their movement and activities without their knowledge.

Privacy entails some elements of autonomy and control. The current technological development has reduced this control as well as the sense of security which is accrued from such control (Takabi, Zargar, & Joshi, 2015). At the moment the search methods are fast and convenient. Literally, the information is not capable of being suppressed. However, it is costly to delete data as compared to storing data, therefore a huge amount of personal information will gradually be stored in cyberspace despite an individual’s wish to suppress it. Since it is expensive to delete data, only a few companies possess data-deletion policies (Takabi et al., 2015). This deprives individuals to have control over their information and as well invades their privacy.

Another form of privacy invasion which hurts individuals is appropriation. This type of privacy invasion can be through the manipulation of someone’s picture. The development of certain web-based programs and software for editing photographs such as Photoshop has led to cases of appropriation which significantly invade an individual’s privacy (Landau, 2015). People’s privacy is invaded when their photographs are obtained from the internet and then manipulated using this web-based software such as Photoshop and then inappropriately use them (Landau, 2015). Similarly, technology has facilitated the inappropriate use of other people’s photographs for their own individual gains without the consent of the people whose photographs are being used.

Apart from tracking people’s location, recent technology can track our online activity by tracking data obtained from a website and cookies. Devices such as smartphones and computers have exposed people to the tracking of their online activities (Takabi et al., 2015). Such cookies form a blueprint of the website that an individual visits over the internet as well as capable of contributing to the personalized adverts visible on certain websites. Nonetheless, cookies have the capacity of saving this personal information on some websites. Computers are the core technology that has significantly invaded people’s privacy. Computers have enabled criminals to get into innocent victims’ lives.

Surveillance devices such as CCTV cameras have significantly invaded people’s privacy. Today, almost all organizations, institutions, businesses, schools, and even some homes do have CCTV surveillance installed in almost every corner or part of the buildings (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). These surveillance cameras are monitored 24/7. People are being watched, and every movement and activity they do are monitored. They do not have privacy, as they are under surveillance. The surveillance devices deny people their privacy since these devices record all the activities taking place which is being monitored and as well stored for future reference.

The recent technology has introduced the spying on people at home. For instance, Google Home and Amazon Echo are devices that have been introduced into people’s homes to spy on them. These devices were primarily designed for the harmless and utilitarian purpose to be home assistants (Watts, 2016).  However, these devices are ears spying on people while recording, storing and reporting the sound that they can hear in the environment. This is definitely a critical invasion of people’s privacy since sounds of their day to day communication are recorded and listened to by government officials in charge. Recording people’s communication is a serious breach of privacy.

A number of devices such as laptops and mobile phones have cameras which are used to record live images. With the advancement in technology, for instance, facial recognition apps are able to match an individual’s identity with other online social media platforms without willingness and consent (Watts, 2016). This invades the individual’s privacy because it matches the images without the owner’s permission. Using a person’s image extensively beyond the scope of use without the consent of the owner substantially invades his or her privacy. Such kind of an act is like blackmail.

Technology has propelled organizations to invade the privacy of their employees.  In essence, technology has made the organization feel like they have to know everything about their employees (“Technolgy Invading Privacy,” n.d.). Emails are meant to be used in sharing personal information and have to be kept private and confidential, though such privacy has been invaded as organizations frequently read their employee’s emails, regardless of either having being written in personal or corporate emails. Since emails can be accessed from any device if the only one has signed in details, organizations retain their employees’ sign in details for their emails so that they can read their emails (“Technolgy Invading Privacy,” n.d.). Such an organization feels like they have to be aware of every communication that the employees are involved in. Essentially, each site that any employee visits is signed in a database which can be used as a future reference. Emails are sent to any of the computers at work regardless of being personal or corporate mail and passwords are stored too. These stored data can be used in litigations against them.

The use of wiretapping cell phone conversations for the people by the government really invades people’s privacy mostly on unsuspecting citizens whom the government does not have a reason for believing that this city would take part in any illegal activity (“Technolgy Invading Privacy,” n.d.). The government exploits the technology to tap the conversation of all citizens as a security measure against acts of terrorism while giving up the people’s right to privacy. The citizen’s privacy is critically invaded by this technology since all telephone communications are listened to and monitored by the government.

People are nowadays more susceptible to privacy invasion more often because of the advancement of the internet. Upon posting any information on the web, it remains on the web. Information such as social security contacts, pictures, work details, phone numbers as well as other necessities required for caring out fraud can be obtained from the web (Landau, 2015). For instance, usually, internet users post comments on Myspace or Facebook notifying a friend to call them and innocently leave their contacts on the page. Another instance is whereby users post pictures, full names, their residence, date of birth and place of birth. All these kinds of information play a significant role in enhancing hackers’ and stalker activities online (Landau, 2015). As a result,  hackers collect information regarding an individual then sell it or even use them in opening new credit cards, use them in purchasing expensive things and steal or con other people using a false name.

Search engines such as Google amongst others tend to save anything that is typed in their website from an individual’s Internet Protocol address (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). Even though Google has claimed that there is no personal information is stored, Google is accused of selling information to strangers. Also, platforms such as Paypal, eBay, and Amazon among other money transaction sites cause a big invasion of privacy on the internet (Rotenberg & Agre, 2015). Literally, Amazon and eBay retain the credit card number of the user as well as possess an auto-fill form in every auction they have. This possesses the significant risk of invasion of privacy to the users which can lead to online fraud.

To sum up, technological advancement has indeed posed a significant invasion of privacy. Technology has propelled instances of invasion of people’s privacy. As a result, people have become scared in matters pertaining to personal privacy, it is now believed that while using technology information is not safe. Technology is playing a significant role in our lives and helps in various activities. As they are helpful to mankind, they sometimes tend to invade people’s privacy. Therefore the issue of technology causing invasion of people’s privacy should be reviewed and try to minimize the instances of invasion of privacy. In terms of security and privacy, there needs to be a balance between security and privacy and non of these two should supersede the other. All in all, the development and implementation of technology need to take into consideration the privacy of their users.