It’s Corona time and we’re all sitting in our homes, depending primarily on the internet to stay connected and entertained. Heck, some of us are even working from home, which means the internet is now more important than ever.
In such a situation, internet privacy has become extremely important.
What is internet privacy?
In the basic sense, internet privacy means keeping your data private on the internet. But private from whom?
When you send or receive data on the internet (it could be anything from videos, audios, pdf, documents, or anything), it travels on an unencrypted path. So anyone who has access to that path can read it.
You might not know but your ISP can see your data. And many governments over the world track the data of their people. And that’s not all, if there’s a hacker on your network, they can see everything you’re sending and receiving. What if your computer is being monitored?
You’re sharing important documents with your team back and forth as you work from home. And you connect with your loved ones over voice and video calls. Maybe even texts.
What if there’s someone who’s trying to steal your data? Now that you’re sharing everything online and real life communication has become diminished, there are increased chances of your information being stolen. And the hackers can either use this information for their own purposes or capture your data and ask for a ransom.
So yeah, we do need internet privacy. And that’s what we’ve been reading everywhere. There are so many pros of internet privacy. But are there any cons as well? Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of internet privacy here.
That’s the number one pro. Since we’re all using online media to connect as we’re locked down in our homes, your data must be secured. Whether you’re sending your account details to your parents so they can add some money in there to provide financial aid or placing an online order for groceries so they can be delivered to your granny who cannot leave her house, you need to protect your data.
Many vulnerable pieces of information need to be protected. Apart from your financial or corporate information that’s super sensitive, there are your personal photos and videos that shouldn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Freedom of speech
If you want to report something in your area – and it could be anything – you need your freedom of speech. If you live in a place where the local government isn’t taking adequate measures and hiding the total number of Covid cases, you might want to voice your opinion to get some help. And you need to do that while staying safe. Again, internet privacy becomes very important here.
Science and innovation
If you’re a doctor or a scientist who’s conducting research on the latest developments for a cure or a vaccine, you want your findings to reach other scientists. But you don’t want them to land in the wrong hands. This is why internet privacy becomes important. If you don’t feel safe or secure about your findings or you think this data can be exploited to cause harm, crucial findings won’t be able to reach the right hands.
With everyone on the internet, it’s important for people to be able to access online services with complete peace of mind. If they feel their data isn’t safe, they won’t be able to share their experiences and thus others will be devoid of the updates that are occurring in the world. If someone just got cured of Coronavirus without requiring hospitalization, that’s a huge positive point and can cheer others up who are feeling depressed locked down.
This creates an imbalance. Only a sense of security will let people share their experiences without feeling scared about their information being stolen.
After reading all the pros, you might be thinking of what can possibly be a harmful effect of internet privacy. With that, the biggest factor that comes to mind is:
It’s easy to create fake IDs and when your privacy is protected, you’re behind an invisible mask. Nobody can see your true identity. And thus you are free to do whatever you want. This seems fine but the problem is that cyberbullying can be done by anyone – people we know, people who seem sweet otherwise.
When they get this cloak of invisibility, they can have a complete change of personalities. So even the sweetest of people can leave the rudest or nastiest remarks on the internet. If you or your child is being cyberbullied, you’d want it to be easier to trace back to the people who’re doing it.
While online privacy is a good thing and it protects you from cybercrime, it can also help criminals. If someone doesn’t take their online privacy seriously, they can be duped by criminals who do indeed take their privacy seriously. Thus, online privacy protects only those who use it. If a criminal uses privacy techniques, they can hide their details from the law and government authorities.
What can you do for internet privacy?
If you want your data to be hidden as it travels on the internet, you can encrypt it. This can be done by using a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your data and so if anyone tries to read it, they will get only garbled messages that won’t make any sense to them.
Keep in mind that incognito mode cannot help secure moving data. Yes, it will help you hide your browser history. So nothing will be recorded. Whether you use an incognito or a private browser such as Kingpin, your browsing sessions will be secured.
Your history will not be recorded and the cookies will automatically be deleted. So if anyone has access to your computer, they won’t be able to see what you’ve been doing. But the hacker sitting on the network or the government or even your ISP will be able to see everything you’ve been doing.
Should you go for internet privacy?
I’d say yes. Hackers are already using it. And they’re targeting people who’re not practicing online privacy. Unless you want to fall prey to their dirty tactics, it’s best to get a VPN and a private browser such as Kingpin.