|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Ethics Society Social media Human rights|
Although it does not seem necessary, privacy is a fundamental right for everyone. Even the UN and other international treaties and the country's' constitutions recognize it as right. In some countries, such as the United States and India, this right is not explicitly acknowledged. Privacy refers to the state where a person is free from intrusion from others that disrupts their personal life. This definition, however, varies worldwide, but what is common is that they are all fused with protecting individuals by drawing a line on how far society can invade someone's affairs. Privacy can, therefore, be categorized into bodily, territorial, information, or privacy in communications. However, many are times, this right is violated, especially with the development of online social networks (Beye, et al. 2). Social media's popularity has widely encouraged the breach of privacy due to the development of online social relations. For instance, when it gives out their details to open an email account. Most do not think where that information could be used to infringe privacy, but it happens. It has become a worldwide growing concern that laws placed to protect this right have not been enough to curb this encroachment.
Social Media on the Encroachment of Privacy
Recently the rising sophistication of using technology for various reasons has presented a new urgency in protecting this right. The latest and advanced developments in telecommunication have dramatically increased the acquiring of information. So, this time in history is where privacy infringement is higher than ever before. It has become fundamental that countries pass stricter laws to protect their citizens from the encroachment of this right. Social networking sites have been used for communication purposes. Others, such as blogging sites, also exist, but what is more voguish are the use of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, among others. One of the most used sites is Facebook, and by 2010, there were about 350 users of this online social platform (Houghton and Adam 75). Out of this, nearly half of them log in daily, about 3.5 billion pieces of information are shared in a week and more than 2.5 billion photos uploaded in a month (Houghton and Adam 76). Facebook then accounts for a very high number of people using it.
Many appreciate the benefits that come from using these social media sites. However, these sites have continuously increased concerns on how privacy can be enhanced if the organization or others infringe data. Consistent claims have arisen that users are disclosing confidential data about their organization, especially those working in the security department. And this clarifies why some social media accounts are hacked. Such cases where workers go rogue and disclose confidential details are rare, but when it happens, an organization has little control over this. In research done by N and B, about 22% of students in colleges had worries that strangers may use this information to know their areas of residence (3).
In comparison, 40% were worried that they might use the information to identify their class schedules; this is because they had disclosed this information on their Facebook profiles (N and B 3). They suggested that there should be security settings that allow them to decide which people view such details. Despite this, most still felt it might not be enough to prevent strangers from gaining access to their information.
One significant privacy issue is the access sign-in option that most sites introduced. It allows users to gain access to sites using specific login details. So if a user uses one login for multiple websites, there can be detrimental results if anyone accesses this information. Most security experts argue against such activities of merging social media sites. Due to the several concerns on privacy raised on social media, there is a need to modify the rules on confidentiality to protect users from all evils that come with breach of confidentiality. For instance, since 2016, Google has been working on a plan of merging client details. Under this, there will be new developments on the terms and conditions of privacy. Users can use one login detail to gain access to multiple products of Google, such as Gmail and Google Scholar, among others; this is a smart strategy, which saves users from having numerous login specifics. Also, Google can easily track its users and detect those who violate its privacy terms. Experts commend Google for this strategy, but there are still vast risks of leaking private information because users do not contribute to matters concerning privacy settings. There arises a mismatch between how users utilize these websites and the privacy settings on social media.
As from the recent past, cybercrime has been climbing up the ladder to the point that it has reached a whole new level, particularly in social networking sites. Rogue programmers are effortlessly working to come up with programs that can hack users' information. Some of the tactics used include doxing, malware, baiting, and phreaking. They do this mostly by installing minor programs in the most used and trusted website. So, when a user logs in to these programs installed by hackers, they can retrieve personal data that include even the most personal information such as bank details.
Internet giants recognize how scoundrel these programmers are at accessing private data. On several occasions, claims arise on how networking accounts are hacked, and many users are affected. The substantial flaws related to encroachment of privacy on social media have raised questions on how well privacy rights are protected. Many ask why these social sites have a hard time improving on the security to improve on protecting a user's personal information. Most individuals and experts feel that networking providers are obligated to safeguard their data. Complains about breached personal data has pushed providers such as Google into enhancing their security. They have not yet reached an ultimate solution, but then it's a complicated process that takes time since such sites require openness and personal data provision.
To some extent, these networking sites use personal information even for their benefit. For example, in 2007, Facebook monetized its location by creating a program that tracked users and obtains records (N and B 2). The plan was linked to other advertising websites that alerted users on products that were sold. Facebook did not ask users for any information but instead just used it for their benefit. Ultimately, this was a violation of privacy. Worse still, it is not only Facebook that has violated this right but also many other websites. Some go to the extent of flushing out personal details that the user does not even post.
Enhancement privacy on social media is a primary task for networking providers since it's a significant concern. More strict laws need to be imposed, or better still use technological means to improve on the right to privacy. Such technical means may involve the use of software tools such as communication scrutinizing tools and identity management strategies (Van den Hoven et al. n.p)). Employing such strategies would help in improving security protocols procedures. They could also use tactics to anonymize data by use of special software. The proposed idea behind the anonymization of data ensures that personal data cannot be connected to any specific user. However, crucial information can still be utilized for research purposes. These sites can also make use of cryptography to protect data. Cryptographic techniques involve transmitting data in codes that only the user can comprehend. Such methods could be useful in providing privacy protection to sensitive data.
To sum up, the use of social media has considerably become famous for the last decade. Young and old are using these social sites to share data about their personal lives. The use of social media expected to continue growing for years due to the benefits of networking. However, one of the primary concerns as a result of using these sites is the issue of privacy. Most websites have security flaws that allow rogue programmers to hack personal information from users. These acts violate the right to privacy that individuals are entitled to; thus, there is a dire concern on how these security flaws could be enhanced. Therefore, it is up to the social networking providers to fully take responsibility for ensuring their platforms are firmly secure by employing strategies such as cryptography and identity management to protect users' classified information. They should also make sure only one individual user could access data. More research should be done on the protection of the rights to privacy on social media to guarantee users of safety.
Beye, Michael, et al. "Literature overview-privacy in online social networks." Centre for Telematics and Information Technology, University of Twente (2010). https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a16b/0c490dcbf07a91e488d502a5f00656b06b30.pdf
Houghton, David J., and Adam N. Joinson. "Privacy, social network sites, and social relations." Journal of Technology in Human Services 28.1-2 (2010): 74-94.
N, Allawi, and Al-Jenaibi B. "Social Network and Privacy". Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism, vol 06, no. 01, 2016. https://www.hilarispublisher.com/open-access/social-network-and-privacy-2165-7912-1000288.pdf
Sarikakis, Katharine, and Lisa Winter. "Social media users' legal consciousness about privacy." Social Media+ Society 3.1 (2017): 2056305117695325.
Van den Hoven, Jeroen, et al. "Privacy and information technology." (2014). https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/it-privacy/
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