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The privacy rights which people, especially citizens of democratic states, have enjoyed for long under their countries’ constitutions are being eroded and threatened in the era of digitization. Automation and digitization of personal information and collection of such data are threatening the privacy of internet users. While digitization has made procuring goods and services more accessible and fastened the speed of communication and information flow, it has also made people wary and worried about the safety of the personal data that has been digitized.
Whether we are streaming movies on Netflix, shopping on eBay or Amazon, conducting a financial transaction online, opening a Facebook account or just surfing the internet, we leave an increased footprint of personal data; our addresses, dates of birth, marital status, phone numbers, age and social preferences. Many persons have their health records in electronic forms and millions of bank customers have a great deal of their data online when they request bank statements, do electronic transfers or apply for a loan. This makes people worry about how their privacy is being protected.
The countless data breaches have exacerbated the concern over privacy rights from Facebook, Solarwinds, and FireEye and the innumerable underreported data breaches have brought to the fore the importance of privacy rights. This has become even more important with the revelation that social media companies, websites and financial institutions have collected and sold the data of millions of people without their knowledge. This necessarily begs the question, “in this era of digitization, what privacy rights do people have?” The question above may appear simple, but it is not clear-cut. There is no generally accepted list of privacy rights people have across the world. The reality is that the privacy rights people enjoy depend on where they come from and/or where they live. The residents of China do not necessarily have the privacy rights, European Union residents have. Laws differ and the privacy rights applicable in one country may be non-existent in another country. However, while these laws vary, they generally offer the following rights:
- Right to be Properly Informed: Generally, most countries’ laws give internet users the right to be appropriately informed about the data that are going to be collected about them, why these personal data are to be collected, and the extent of their collection, who has access to them and how it is going to be protected. These rights are granted to consumers and internet users to ensure they do not give away sensitive information or accept third-party cookies without knowing what they will be used for and who has access to them. The right to be properly informed about the nature of data being collected and to what extent has become a critical right of internet users.
- Right to Consent or Withdraw: After being informed of the nature of personal data to be collected, the reason for its collection and management, internet users and customers of online business platforms have a right either to consent to such data being collected or to decline consent. Both the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Protection Act guarantee the privacy of personal data; individuals also have the right to withdraw such consent in the future.
- Right to Data Security: Internet users have a right to have their data protected from unauthorized access and data breach. Beyond data security, they also have a right to confidentiality. This means that sensitive personal data collected must not be published or shared with third parties without their knowledge and approval.
- Access: Internet users have the right to access whatever information is held about them by their personal data holders. They also have the right to request a copy of the stored data and get the same within a specific period.
- Right to be Forgotten: Internet users have a right to request that their data is held by their personal data holders be deleted. This is known as the right to be forgotten. Personal data about users would have to be deleted except in cases where public interests or welfare overrides it. The right to be forgotten is crucial because most websites and social media platforms still hold users’ data long after the users quit using such a service. And this information could be continually shared and sold to third parties without the knowledge or consent of the owners of such data.
While these policies are good and protect internet users’ privacy, it is important that users regain control of their personal data. Such steps include getting an app like Hoody. A privacy app such as Hoody will help you protect your privacy and security. When using your browser with Hoody, each one of your tab and website gets a new IP, a new location and a unique set of Fingerprints, making tracking impossible. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ future-proof technology beats the most advanced and invasive tracking techniques.
In conclusion, the foregoing are some of the rights internet users have and ensure that companies and organizations respect users’ privacy and take steps to protect such data. For residents of countries without robust privacy protections, getting an app such as App-x is of great importance in ensuring their privacy.
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