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

Authors Avatar by gasbubbles (student)

5th Humanities Research Symposium for Youth

Theme: Technology and Freedom

Topic: Internet Privacy


        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. They are all run by newly developed technology such as face recognizing technology, tracking cookies, anti-virus software, keystroke logging technology etc. These technologies are developed for people’s convenience originally. However, they infringe our privacy sometimes due to improper application. Through these sub-topics, we may be able to investigate on these technologies are applied improperly by different groups of people (For groups with stronger influence: the government, worldwide companies. And for groups with less influence: Parents and friends).

        We would also organize and synthesis previously conducted research and other scholarly discussion in order to broaden the research field. We would gather some related information from books, websites, news and reviews etc. References would be attached.

Literature Review

        In recent years the use of the Internet has increased rapidly and many people rely on the Internet to communicate and finish tasks effectively. However as Thadani (2011) states, by using the Internet we are putting information about ourselves in the public domain, malicious parties may start to attack and misuse the information.

        The article, Pressing Internet Privacy Issues 2011, has listed a few examples of Internet privacy threats and the most significant one is the use of social networks. Facebook is a popular social network which everyone seems to use it to let their friends connected on Facebook know what they are doing. They also share photos, videos, links, and update personal information. This poses a great threat to the users of the social network. Advertisers who are business partners of the social networks are particularly interested in your personal information, and so it would be easy for the social network to provide them what you say about yourselves. Also, some stalkers or hackers may search for your profile and steal information that you do not want to disclose, which may cause embarrassment or even financial loss. In the article it states that a person updates status messages and photos about her trip abroad, and then arrives home after a week to find her house being vandalized, as the malicious party decided to take advantage of the information. It is necessary that users of social networks increase their awareness of the safety of their personal information and protect their own privacy by not posting up any personal information about them that they do not want strangers to see, or set their privacy settings to a more protection-advanced setting. Also, privacy laws and tracking systems should be enforced as soon as possible to punish hackers and parties who misuse personal data illegally obtained, as well as monitor internet privacy to ensure safe and reliable use of the Internet for its users.

        Another article, Essay on Internet Privacy, states how we, as citizens of the world, are not protected by the laws that the governments have set down to for internet privacy.  Many times we are required to provide personal information on the Internet, and we do trust that the companies and the corporations will keep our personal information private. This is due to the fact that they state that they would, and that it is illegal to publicize their customers’ information.  However, this article shows us that the laws are not protecting us and the reason is that there are loopholes in the laws. The article gives us an example of Amazon, one of the largest book-sellers in the world, and how even though on the surface they seem to be respecting our rights to privacy, by not disclosing our information to others, a big chance is that they might, if they go bankrupt.  The highest bidder would get all the information that we, as individuals, have provided them. This is why something has to be done in order to permanently protect the rights of the people. Governments should pass laws to restrict any passing of customer information to third parties, and most importantly, these Internet companies need to learn how to have respect for others.

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Discussion and Analysis

  1. New Functions of Social Networking Sites

    Facial recognition technology

        A facial recognition system is a  for automatically  or  a  from a  or a  from a  source. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected  from the previous images and setting up a facial .

        Recently, the famous social networking website, Facebook, announced that they would be implementing facial recognition technology in the tagging function of photos. With this technology applied, the Facebook system could recognize a person’s facial features and save all the data they have ...

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