How do outsiders and the government steal our privacy on the internet? Essay

Submitted By lisa_rochow
Words: 811
Pages: 4

How do outsiders and the government steal our privacy on the internet? As I sat down to begin writing my proposal, a final tweet for evening was sent to my public Twitter account. After sending my tweet a couple questions come to mind; “who is going to read this?” more importantly “who is able read this?” I read the proposal prompt and the idea clicked that I could use those questions to my advantage. I want to further explore the issue we face with outsiders and the government stealing our privacy on the internet. In her article, “Consumer Privacy on the Internet must be protected” Pamela Jones Harbour urges readers to know “Collection of consumer data is by no means new. Census information, credit reports, and Nielsen data have existed for decades. The Internet, however, enables the creation of vastly larger quantities of consumer data. These data are collected every time we send email, update status on a social networking site, read a news article, run a search, or make an online purchase.” Pamela’s argument leaves me wondering if my farewell tweet or any other tweet I’ve composed could be collected data used against me not only by the government, but by anyone. When I begin searching to find who has the right to access my data, a website heading read, “Electronic Frontier Foundation: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World.” Along with a graph showing the top eighteen companies relevant to social networking users, included were: Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo! My eyes were immediately drawn to Twitter’s rankings and I was pleasantly surprised to see Twitter achieved the highest amount of stars given, six. Within these six stars each represents a certain step the government must go through to obtain specific data they want to use. The first star begins by requiring the government to have a warrant to access content. From then on the stars are: Tells users about government data requests, Publishes transparency reports, Publishes law enforcement guidelines, Fights for users’ privacy rights in courts and finally, Fights for users’ privacy rights in congress. My eyes focus on Twitter’s largest competitor, Facebook. One of the most popular social networking sites in the world, I was astonished to see only attained three stars by requiring a warrant for content, publishing transparency requests and fighting for users privacy rights in congress. After Facebook’s low standing; I looked at Google’s rank, five of six stars. This top internet search engine didn’t receive all six stars for deciding not to tell users about government data requests. Interestingly enough, Yahoo! only received one star, for choosing to fight for users’ privacy rights in courts. My mind was at ease knowing Twitter has one of the best privacy ratings on the internet but soon my naive attitude towards Twitter changed.
I was home for the weekend, spending time with my friend, Steven and he received a notification that someone new was following him on Twitter. Once he clicked on the notification, he was led to a profile and saw a familiar face as the default picture, me. He asked if I chose to make a second