In the current era of development of technologies, individuals face more and more threats to their private life and personal information. People are getting used to the situation when they cannot enjoy privacy as much as they would like to. The use of modern devices presupposes the revelation of information, which previously could never be revealed. In order to keep pace with today’s world, one should be ready to reveal certain data viewed as too personal so far. Modern society does not pay that much attention to the surveillance systems in public places, which were used far less frequently some decades ago, when significant and secret information was accessible only to those in power. People do not even realize that practically all their moves are registered somewhere. The revelation of top-secret information by Edward Snowden has proved that no one can feel secure because anyone’s life can be brought to public discussion and analysis. Yet, the governments should take into consideration one’s right to freedom. Hence, they cannot provide the information, unless required, for the third parties without one’s preliminary consent. The personal information is not protected enough and is revealed to various organizations through the spread of personal number codes, IDs with chips, Internet and social networks, modern devices, surveillance systems, and because of people’s willingness to sacrifice privacy for the sake of being involved in the world’s development and the way the public perception of the notion of privacy works. Hence, the effort of the authorities together with wise approach to Internet usage by individuals are two main aspects that can ensure at least relative privacy.
Granting personal ID numbers or documents with special chips allows various organizations, both governmental and private, learn a certain amount of data about an individual. Of course, the application of such a technology makes numerous procedures connected with both internal and external affairs of a country easier. For instance, owing to new types of documents, customs service officers spend less time on checking an identity (documents’ validity, police information, etc.) of an individual with the help of electronic database, where everything is recorded; banks have immediate access to a client’s information, provided by him or her, especially by means of credit cards, which are viewed as another type of risk of privacy violation. However, different organizations and institutions have to obtain the right to access to such information. Those who collect private information for the various purposes have agreed that information protection in a current world is a matter of the utmost importance.
Still, protection of personal data is not only state’s responsibility: one should be very careful while showing or giving their personal documents to others, no matter if another person is close or not. Today’s pace of technology development proves that a person cannot be out of the system. Hence, every person will be registered at least in one part of the system and, further will be added to the others depending on the lifestyle of a given person. Certain religions forbid a person from having any codes, claiming it to be a violation of the sanctity of a person, and state that human beings are not robots to be labeled with codes. However, in a modern life, one can do nothing without them: this certifies a person, allows making money transactions by cashless transfers or in cash depending on the personal desire of the customer. An individual has to consider how much privacy is revealed through the documents to both governmental and private organizations.
Because of its development and popularization, the Internet and social media, without any doubts, has become the most revealing sources of personal information, which can be disclosed both voluntarily and forcibly. The Internet companies may give access to the private data in case an individual agrees to the regulations of such company and allows using his or her data for their purpose. However, not all websites or Internet providers can get access without obtaining the permit. In such a case, privacy is under the threat, as well as data security. According to the research results, the workers of both genders of all ages value privacy and are likely “to do more to protect their persona information online” (Madden 40). Yet, people with lower level of education feel more secure about their data than those who have a college or university degree (Madden 40). Taking into account the fact that remaining anonymous online is practically impossible, there is one of the simplest examples of tracking online activity. Quite often, various advertisements appear in the top or bottom corners of the screen when browsing. Interestingly, the advertised information is rather appropriate for a user. Thus, if one has been recently browsing a new tablet and went on looking for something else, for instance, watches, most likely, the next time the browser will show the offers on tablets or smart phones and watches more often than any other items. Hence, the activity online can be tracked not only by the users’ consent.
Another issue is disclosure of private information via e-mail, accounts on such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Numerous organizations use this information “by scraping the web to obtain detailed information on the sentiment relating to particular issues, brands, products and services” (Strong 20). People usually do not think about their security; they post photos, tag friends or create accounts on certain social media, which is an easy way to get much information about them. This sometimes may have a harmful effect on human lives, especially if one is a public person. People often let others know about their private issues by boasting of various places, presents or clothes. Such voluntary revelation can be viewed as a price people pay for being considered as socially active. In fact, there is no guarantee that this information will be used solely as it was meant to. The privacy settings are not always effective even to protect the photos from stealing.
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In the modern world, people have learned not to pay attention to a number of surveillance systems that can be found practically everywhere one goes: in the streets, shops, banks, at gas stations, etc. This seems normal if to consider the role of cameras in regulating life, especially with their regular help in finding criminals and offenders and detecting issues that can be unnoticed by people. The purpose of the data gathering by the state should be restricted. It should be reasonable, and the restrictions must meet legitimate social objectives (Cavoukian 3). Since the state is the most authoritative guarantee of most basic freedoms and safety of personal data, it must be responsible for provision of the basic rights that include the right to personal privacy. What is important, this right is related to all public spaces, online in particular (Cavoukian 3). Such conveniences as smartphones, emails, etc. are directly connected and attached to various online domains, which store the data, such as passwords, and no one can be secure that it is protected from being hacked and from their personal data being disclosed to public. The risk people take by uploading personal data to various servers is the price for social activity and involvement in technological development. Sure, surveillance cameras sometimes are helpful in deterring crimes. However, their usage as the evidences against criminals can become the revelation of the personal life of other people. The issue of safety, in this case, is rather disputed: by revealing the data about the location or anything else, one can undergo, for instance, a robbery. Hence, it is not advisable to provide such information publicly.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is aimed at protecting the personal life of an individual; however, it does not ensure the safety as far as it provides the police with the right to break into one's home if there is a dangerous situation or one's life is under the threat. If the police break in unreasonably, a person is protected. However, the Fourth Amendment does not secure people against the Internet cookies or related things, and does not make restrictions concerning public surveillance cameras; yet, it puts restrictions concerning the places that cannot be equipped with the surveillance systems. In the same ways, it does not protect people from having their phones tapped or bags searched. These must be perceived as the measures that are necessary for the safety of other people. However, there obviously must be the restriction on the reasonable checks of citizens that would not violate the rights of the Americans. Only the sufficient evidences of serious threat can allow the representatives of the law violate someone’s privacy. However, it is effective only if one cannot be a master of the situation. In case of the social media and Internet, wise usage of the resources is the efficient way to keep privacy.
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Authorities have to consider the privacy of its citizens as one of the extremely significant aspects. Today, people got so much used to publicizing their lives that it is rather difficult to name a person who does not boast with presents, holiday pictures, etc. This kind of irreversible sharing of personal data via Internet, social networking, application of number codes, credit cards, etc. may be viewed both positively and negatively. The use of the modern devices allows tracking every move of a person. Hence it is necessary to check the settings carefully if the user does not want to be tracked easily. Besides, the surveillance systems at various organizations, public places, etc. reveal all people’s movements, were they go and what they do. One cannot hide from this as far as current legislation does not forbid the use of cameras in public places. However, it is up to an individual, whether to share their personal information or not. It is better to keep at least something private, if it is not possible to keep everything.