Need a Little Online Privacy? Think Again!

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Anyone who surfs the web is a part of the information economy. And in this economy, It’s natural to be worried about your online privacy. Most websites track users, particularly through the use of cookies, little text files placed on Web surfers’ computers. Sites use cookies to customize a visitor’s experience. In the online advertising world, Ad network tracks user information to enable them to show personalized ad. Most websites and ad networks do not “sell” information about their users.  If an ad network sold personal and contact info, it would undercut its advertising business and its own profitability.

Let me explain with simple example to illustrate this. I am from India where there is a concept of “arranged marriage”. Parents look for a suitable match for their sons/daughters through mediums like social circle, matrimonial ads in newspapers etc. Even here, people have started using Internet to find information about a prospect match for their children. Online data enables them to perform their work more effectively and efficiently. In this age of information authentic information is immensely valuable. Data collection increases the relevance and accountability and thus improves the quality of information that gets generated.

We can now use the Internet not just to connect to friends and family, but also build our professional network through sites like LinkedIn. This has had a profound impact on the way we look for jobs and the way companies look for potential employees. The whole system has become more transparent. Everything you need to know is there on the web. Certainly, Bill Gates was right when he said that the Internet is the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC.

Another way in which the increase in data collection and information sharing has enhanced the lifestyle of people in the 21st century is that people are now more connected than ever. As Mark Zuckerberg said in of the letter he published, by enabling more people to share ever more information, social networking sites are helping to build a better, more open world.

I also believe sharing is a choice for individuals. If they are aware enough, they can control if they want to share their information either on Google or various social networking sites.  This way, an aware internet community can share the useful still protecting their own privacy. So, It’s time that people should get smart and learn how to control personal information. There are also plenty of options and tools people can use to protect privacy.

 

Category: Business, Lifestyle 16 0

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