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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: ICT
  • Word count: 2881

Does the Internet Protect or Affect Privacy.

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DOES THE INTERNET PROTECT OR AFFECT PRIVACY? 1The Internet is a global network of millions of smaller computer networks linked by terrestrial and extra terrestrial communications channels. The most common use of the Internet is for sending and receiving international electronic mail (E-mail). Hence, the Internet can be referred to as the largest network of networks; it is a concept, which continues to grow beyond known boundaries thus bringing about extensive information from across the globe. It has successfully breach communication gaps, which benefits individuals as well as organisations alike. 2"The Internet (the net) is a rapidly growing global web of thousands of business, educational and research networks connecting millions of computers and their users in more than 100 countries to each other". The Internet technology possess a great deal of capabilities which facilitates the usage of internet in achieving set tasks efficiently and effectively to a required level, hence it is now more or less part of everyday business operations as well as enhancing individuals' needs. 3Major Internet capabilities such as: * E-Mail - Refers to messaging from one person to another and also sharing of documents. * Usenet Newsgroups - Discussion groups via electronic bulletin boards where people share information and ideas on set topics. * LISTSERV's - Discussion groups with the aid of e-mail mailing list servers. * Chatting - Basically refers to interactive conversations. * Telnet - Concept of logging on to one computer and working on another. ...read more.


This raises questions such as should people have say on data kept on their behalf and how it is used? To what extent does information kept affect or benefit individuals? For example, Database America and Yahoo Inc included unlisted phone numbers and addresses for people such as police officers, judges and prosecutors who feared their lives would be in danger if malefactors found out where they lived. Ref: "Web on Privacy Alert" Computer World, April 29, 1996 By Mitch Wagner. This situation shows the implication of misusing data, also the fact that a person can find out a lot about you with very little effort seems scary, hence it is deemed vital that people are informed about how information held about them is to be used. This issue raises concerns and fear that people without the authority to use the information could use private information for purposes other than for which it was intended. 6"Information is said to be equated to power and influence, therefore any society should have a number of legal and statutory checks and balances in place to prevent the misuse of information". Computer Security along with privacy issues have become big news, in the courtroom, the boardroom with policy makers and lawmakers. Buying On The Internet The idea of purchasing goods over the Internet seems like an easy and efficient way to obtain required goods, however due to the vulnerability of the Internet Technology it can also lead to unnecessary headache in that, privacy can be easily violated. ...read more.


8"Terrorism poses a serious threat, requiring a serious government response. However, all too often the terrorism issue has been used as the justification for eroding civil liberties. In recent years, communications technologies and the Internet have become the increasing focus of proposals - introduced in the name of fighting terrorism - that really ends up only diminishing privacy". Although Internet crime is on the increase, 9the potential for government to help seems limited, in that, there is a risk of the government doing more harm through design mandates or further intrusion on privacy. Carnivore - this is a computer program designed by the FBI to intercept Internet communication. Although the idea behind Carnivore seems ideal i.e. it is designed to aid investigation of criminal offence via scanning all incoming and outgoing emails - including sender and recipient addresses of a suspect. However, the introduction of Carnivore creates a new threat to the privacy and security of Internet communications, for instance, everywhere we go on the Internet we leave digital fingerprints, which can be tracked, by marketers and government agencies alike. On the whole, the issue of privacy on the Internet is very important that is, policing the Internet is virtually impossible due to the ever changing world of technology hence, laws tend to follow technology and not the other way round. Monitoring of the Internet may be argued as vital in dealing with wrong doers however, 10"the desire to translate every current offline surveillance capability into online world - regardless of consequences - should not be allowed to create a new technical surveillance architecture with huge privacy and security risks". ...read more.

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