We Should All Be Concerned About Surveillance Online
In 2020, internet surveillance and censorship are already the norms. Many states like China adopt various laws that regulate the legality of online surveillance and censorship. Such measures control citizens’ actions within the network and deprive them of their freedom or the right to choose.
We’ve already spoken about What Is The Issue With Internet Censorship and the censorship issue in China in detail. Read the article to keep in touch with events that happened everywhere.
However, states are only the highest authority. All the necessary work on data collection is done by popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing. They have access to such data as:
- Full name and email address;
- The phone number;
- General interests and hobbies;
- Search habits, and much more.
Did you know How Our Data Makes Money For Social Media Giants? It’s beyond belief! We advise you to read the article and find out the truth.
But is it so bad with internet surveillance? Let’s find out the pros and cons of online surveillance.
The global market for online surveillance
Online surveillance is the spying, processing, and collecting of personal data obtained through digital platforms. As a rule, a specially created automated technologies monitor internet connection and perform all the work in online mode.
This type of invasion in personal life is broader than just spyware. In this case, all actions are performed almost legally. Millions of people use various digital platforms where they leave their data. This data can then be used to set up targeted ads and can be prevented in the future to law enforcement agencies or special services.
For example, Iran has an army of volunteers who monitor users’ speech on the Internet. Any citizen can work in the cyber police. A similar body exists in China, where the government recruits people to track banned content.
In addition, researches in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have provided new opportunities for the implementation of the mass surveillance project on the internet. The latest systems quickly match users’ relationships using link analysis; assign meaning or attitude to their social media posts using natural language processing and mood analysis; and determine their past, present, or future location.
Surveillance online: pros and cons
If you think that surveillance online has only negative aspects, you are mistaken. In this issue, as in many others, there are two sides – positive and negative.
Let’s start with the positive ones:
1. Ability to track criminals
The presence of the monitoring network helps to save lives and to protect society from crimes. Police and intelligence agencies can quickly track the plans and location of alleged criminals.
2. The psychological factor against crime
The presence of surveillance on the Internet complicates the planning and organization of various offenses. The very fact that criminals can be declassified faster can stop them from committing a crime.
3. The latest security method
Internet surveillance is the government’s “know-how”. It is believed that many types of surveillance were developed by special services to control citizens and prevent crime.
4. Collecting data for future researches
A country where data is collected quickly can expect future security. Then, such data may be available to various scientists who can research any aspect of life.
Then, let’s consider the negative ones:
1. Lack of privacy
The presence of a big brother who watches us around the clock can deprive the society of the right to privacy. The same situation was described in “1984” by George Orwell. This masterpiece is a must-read in today’s reality!
2. Loss of personal integrity
A possible consequence of round-the-clock surveillance may be the loss of citizens’ personal integrity and the occurrence of psychological deviations in society due to constant surveillance.
3. Use of the information against citizens
All collected information can be used against citizens. It may be transferred to third parties or commercial organizations. In addition, it is easier for hackers to access the database and then copy all the necessary data.
For more information on this topic, read 6 Common Types Of Cyber Threats to protect your data from any cyberattack.
4. This method is expensive.
The state uses special surveillance programs, which require large funds from the budget to develop. Besides, they are difficult and expensive to maintain regularly.
In this regard, a rhetorical question arises: Is it worth the above pluses?
Low-tech tips to protect your privacy online:
Below, you can find 7 short tips on how to protect your privacy online. This is the main thing you can do right now.
1. Don’t post identifying details on public sites (such as tagging photos online).
2. Use search engines that don’t track or store personal info (like Utopia).
3. Turn location services off on your phone when not needed.
4. Organize against surveillance.
5. Place a sticker over your computer’s camera to prevent a hacker from taking pictures of you.
6. Don’t use cloud backup, Google Calendar or Webmail.
7. Configure your browser to delete cookies.
Remember – you are being watched. So, protect yourself and keep in mind that “surveillance is a business model of the internet”.