• Home
  • Privacy Today

Privacy Today


Faith, Justice, Law & Order,Public Arena

Key Concepts

On-line platforms, portals and service providers all make our lives easier and help us do things quicker and in a more convenient manner. However, there is the risk that whatever we post thereon may end up in the wrong hands and be misused and cost us a lot. Privacy that we seek to protect is like security, hard to get in an ever more connected world.

You are responsible for all that you post. Publication is a self goal in your efforts to protect your privacy. There is a BIG difference between privacy and secrecy and discretion is called for on what you post or reveal on the many on-line platforms. It is upto you to do what you can to protect your online identity and communications. Demand better options such as end to end encryption and more secure storage and access monitoring and control.

Expecting the Government to hold and protect your data in this age of governmental interference in almost all matters with the excuse of National security would not be advisable and if at all deemed necessary it must be under strict oversight to ensure ethical operation. Ofcourse, the government can lay down the regulations for private players to ensure better protection of data and for more privacy.

Society should debate and arrive at what activity is deemed ethical and moral and what is not, whether undertaken by the individual or government or the Service provider. Consider the insertion of ‘Cookies’.

Simply put, cookies are pieces of text sent by a server (website) to a browser and stored on your computer for future use. They are used by the website or advertisers to track your preferences and serve you with information tailored to your needs. But cookies raise a privacy concern as they can be used by hackers too.

In 2002, the European Union, in the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications said that placement of cookies would require user consent. According to this directive, storage of cookies was allowed only if the user knew how his data would be used and if he was allowed to opt out of this. The directive was revised in 2009 which requires websites to obtain user consent before employing cookie storage.

PRIVACY and protection of personal Data – Understanding the Limits of and need for:

Privacy is something that everyone must choose for oneself. Every act of social or business or medical / healthcare interaction leads to sharing of information with the attendant risk of it being accessible to others who may seek to misuse it. However, Media and various NGO’s, for their own vested or financial interests, have made a major issue of the possibility of loss of privacy of one’s data from such platforms, portals or on-line sites and seek to put impractical restrictions on them

Would we really ask for our cars to be no longer be fitted with computerized sensors for better operation and safety, just because it is possible for some malevolent hacker to gain control and of the system and cause harm? No – we call for more safeguards and better monitoring / policing to as far as possible to prevent and punish endangering activities. Similarly, would we call for cars to be banned from the roads just because they cause accidents? Again No –we call for better regulation and for better compliance from the users. So too for privacy and data protection of on-line information.

Absolute personal privacy or anonymity was never really something that anyone ever had and impractical calls for such levels of privacy must be resisted. Adjacent houses in a village, or apartments or town – houses in an urban environment, do not really offer social privacy. Banks, Clinics, Hospitals and other businesses and Institutions one deals with also, do not and cannot offer absolute certainty of privacy and protection of personal data. If anyone really seeks details of one’s transactions or relationships, and is willing to spend necessary time and money and make the required phishing effort, then domestic servants, employees, friends and neighbours are easier sources of information.

In olden days people were willing to speak on common telephone lines and write on Postcards, trusting to the lack of interest in the matter therein of the people who could listen in or through whose hands the postcard passed through, and not something that the Telephone or the Postal Department could guarantee or ensure.

In today’s world, where social, business and even health care information is being increasingly disclosed by oneself on many platforms or portals through which one seeks to gain some personal benefit or ease of operation or satisfaction in the search for some information or while using credit/debit cards or applying for school admissions or employment etc, and to now seek to put the burden of ensuring privacy onto the provider of that platform or portal or service, without appropriate additional charges is being selfish and unreasonable.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Reader comments

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments