There was a time when millions of Americans were beset by sudden phone calls. That was the time when telemarketing started creating its place in the net. While doing an important chore for the family, the phone would ring. When answered, you would be disappointed once the caller started asking about lots of private information. That was obviously invasion of privacy.
Finally, Americans were able to put an efficient solution by signing up for the Do Not Call Registry. Disgruntled people signed up and the tool was put in place. Somehow, that was the best thing to do to get rid of annoying callers.
Internet technology becomes more and more invasive. Tools are being improved, each one with a specific market. With these tools, new ways of behaving online were developed. Here comes a newer, cleverer type of privacy invasion – tracking the behavior of internet users.
Corporations are able to monitor and study your keystrokes. After some time, they would be able to draw a picture of your online activities. For example, they would know which sites you frequently visit. Finally they would have a clear idea of your internet profile. You would fit into one or more of their targeted customers.
By then, marketers would consider you one of their prospects. This would be to their benefit, and, as usual, to your disturbance. This is the beginning of a new cycle of unwanted online advertisements and the likes.
From the “Do Not Call Registry” crusade, here comes the “Do Not Track” campaign. This was recommended by the Federal Trade Commission in December of last year. With this in place, corporations can no longer keep track your internet behavior. However, there are pros and cons as to its usefulness.
You would recall that in 2005, the New York Times uncovered the existence of warrantless household wiretapping. It was laid on track in 2001 by the National Security Agency. It took nearly 5 years for the government to acknowledge that it is indeed working. Since its setting up, NSA had been keeping an eye on overseas phone calls made by Americans.
In the recent issues, it’s not the government meddling into private lives. Lots of corporations make money by gathering private information. Some do it for good cause, others for their own selfish reasons. However, the main issue is not much why data are collected. It is in the way information is “stolen” from innocent people. It is the question of internet privacy that is on top of this.
The current move by the U.S. Commerce Department might be able to create a positive environment for internet users. It has called to develop a “privacy bill of rights” proposed for people who divulge information in the internet. One of the major sections would be to set guidelines for telemarketing and online advertising corporations among others.
Private and other kinds of information that are gathered online must not be used without consent from the owner. The Internet is, without question, a useful tool in almost all areas of human activity. However, users must be careful enough when comes to using personal information. This is a question that cannot be solved by any tool or gadget. It is more than expertise, even more than brains. Internet privacy has more to do with human freedom and social justice.
Tags: Behavioral Tracking
, Internet Privacy
, Invasion of Privacy
, Privacy Issues
, Privacy Laws