Online Privacy

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By Lorin Alukonis

Surfing the Web// Maintaining online privacy is very crucial in keeping personal information private from the outside world. Online privacy keeps internet users safe from many in-person and online threats. “Passe-partout (computer, e-mail, online)” by Wies_van_Erp is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

With the consistent advancement of technology, personal information about individuals can be found by the public instantaneously. A few clicks on a mouse can pull up ones address, phone number, pictures, criminal records, and much more. So, the question is, “Do we really have online privacy?”

Concerning social media, everything that is posted, even if deleted, stays on the internet forever. Any text, picture, or video can be found and traced back to an individual even if it was posted anonymously online; this is possible by tracking an IP address, which is the series of numbers that is specific to one’s device. Social media truly is a dangerous place for someone if they are too open about their personal life. For example, posting your favorite restaurant may not seem like a big deal, but now anyone can know you go to that location often and could find you there. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t share any information about yourself; however, all users of any form of social media should be aware of the risks when they share too much with the public.

“I think everyone should be aware of the type of content they are posting,” senior Sasha Gilson said. “Sometimes people forget that their posts can be seen by anyone and they could be in danger if it got in the wrong hands.”

When someone hears “online privacy”, usually their mind goes straight to being unsafe due to media such as television shows. Although being pinpointed from a leaked address is unlikely, it is still possible for one to be in danger of strangers and their unknown intentions. According to a study conducted by SPARC (Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center), an office within the Department of Justice found that one in six women have been stalked in their lifetime as of 2017. They also found that the age group that is typically targeted is 18-24; this is the very age of young adults who post any and all content on their pages for the whole world to see, allowing some who take advantage of this vulnerability. 

“I always hear stories about women being stalked and harassed at home, work, school, or really anywhere,” senior Juliana Girardello said. “It’s a little terrifying knowing that most of them get stalked online in the beginning, but it could turn into something more serious in-person very quickly.”

However, not all consequences of internet usage become physical. Certain websites and social media pages track and record what keywords you look up, which websites you visit, which clothing sites you skim through, or any purchasable sites you briefly look at. All of it is recorded, so the next time you go on a social media page, an advertisement of your favorite clothing store may pop up, or maybe the dog food you researched a week ago. Obviously, those that record your recent searches follow it up with the statement of “not recording, only monitoring” to excuse the personal information being taken to pay off advertisement companies. 

“It honestly gets really annoying when something I looked up on Amazon months ago still gets recommended to me,” senior Jonathan Pantelas-Hemmers said. “I feel like in the future it will only get worse with advertisements since companies really only want money.”

Online privacy is very critical in our day and age since technology continues to develop rapidly. Most legal information about someone can be found simply through a screen making it uncomfortably risky for strangers to know everything about you so easily. Always be aware of what you are putting online whether it is words or pictures, your privacy should be a concern. It’s one of your rights.

 

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Lorin Alukonis, junior, is excited for her first year as the features editor on “The Roar” news staff. She enjoys playing club and high school volleyball in her free time as well as late night drives with her friends. Her favorite types of music to listen to are indie pop and throw-back 2000s songs; she also loves meeting new people and becoming friends with everyone. One of her life goals is to explore Europe and learn about the fascinating history and culture.