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We want to investigate on whether the development of computer technology brings more positive or negative impacts on Internet privacy

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5th Humanities Research Symposium for Youth Theme: Technology and Freedom Topic: Internet Privacy Introduction Technology. Everyone living in this modern city must have heard of this noun. Technology is the scientific knowledge that makes a tool work. Since, the 19th century, the development of technology of different aspects has increased rapidly. And in recent years, the improvement of computer technology has been especially drastic. Therefore, we would like to focus on computer technology. In the 1980s, computers were still very rare. But now, within 30 years, things have totally changed. For example, social networking sites are set up respectively and had hundred millions of users. Computer technology, doubtlessly, plays an important role in city people?s lives. It brings us the convenience to finish our work easier and faster while frees us from the distance between each person and enhance globalization. However, seeing the growing-advanced computer technology, we are worried about the negative impact on our lives, especially how it affects our freedom. With the advance of technology, people are able to get information easily. This is an advantage for everyone. However, apart from useful information, some personal information may also appear whether it is intentionally done or not. Privacy on the internet is a major concern of computer users. We, as typical Hong Kong students, are regular users of the Internet service. Internet privacy is a major computer problem that affects us. We think that the development of computer technology may lower our privacy on the Internet. Therefore, we want to investigate on whether the development of computer technology brings more positive or negative impacts on Internet privacy. We hope that through this research, we could know better about how different technology of software and functions of the internet that improves our life may affect our privacy. We would investigate for this aim through various sub-topics, namely: new functions of social networking sites, keystroke logging software, the interference of the government on the information that its citizen gets and tracking advertisements. ...read more.


2. Keystroke logging software This is a software which, when installed in the operating system of the computer, will be able to record information on the activity of the person using the computer. It is a type of spyware when it is written by criminals who want to take control and steal information from the computer user. The software may gain entry to the computer and installed secretly when an email attachment containing the spyware in the form of virus or ?trojan? is opened, or when a link to the software is clicked while visiting a website. It can also be installed using a USB key when the criminal has physical access to the computer, even though when the computer is unattended for a few minutes. Information concerning the computer activity such as keystrokes entered, website history, emails sent or received, chat logs etc. can be logged and sent remotely to the criminal through the Internet. The criminal may then be able to extract personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, login IDs and passwords etc. and use the information for stealing money through Internet banking. At times, the software may be installed by the owners in their computers deliberately. One less common use is as a recovery tool. If there is accidental data loss, one can use the keystroke records to recover what was typed. Very often, the software is used without the knowledge of the one being monitored. Parents use the software to keep track of their children?s Internet access, filter content, block websites and log chat conversations. Managers might want to monitor the computer activities of their employees with the purpose of analyzing working habits and keep track of computer usage for security. However, companies may be sued for the use of keystroke logging software without the knowledge of the employees. Nowadays, one only has to search on the Internet to find that there are many commercial keystroke logging softwares available at a cheap price. ...read more.


Google, a major Internet host has gone so far as to read our emails with a specially designed software to identify keywords in our email so as to send out advertisements that we may be interested in reading. The new craze of social networking websites like Facebook becomes popular platforms where people can chat with their friends and make new ones. However, Facebook also becomes an important area where we may lose our privacy and personal data. Our identity data such as age, gender and birthday may be exposed to anyone. Also, facial recognition technology, whilst providing convenience for us to tag the photos with the names of our friends, opens a large loophole where people can purposefully get to know everything about us just by seeing our photos on Facebook and clicking our name to read our profile. Moreover, Facebook saves the facial features of people into a database, which might bring undesirable results when fallen into the wrong hands. The most worrying case is the availability of keystroke logging software which may be installed secretly by other people into the computer without the owner or the user knowing. At times the software is purchased commercially and installed by the owner to monitor children or employee performance. In some counties, the government can just hack into citizen?s accounts and control their movement on the Internet. The Internet is highly under censorship and the surfers have a limited access to it. In our research, we have investigated the functions and uses of different technology, as well as their impact on our privacy. It is apparent that the development of computer and Internet technology, while bringing a lot of improvements to our daily life, also bring about negative impacts on our privacy. We may safe guard our privacy by understanding and avoiding the pitfalls where we may lose our personal information in the web. Hopefully, with more powerful computers, more sophisticated software designs and more stringent data handling required of the Internet service provider through proper legislation, we may be able to regulate the storage and dissemination of our personal information through the web. ...read more.

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