Over the last year privacy online has become a big talking point. With so many individuals using social media, this issue has become one that many are interested in knowing about. People on social media websites announce facets of their lives to friends and co-workers but not to governments and companies, so why is it they have this information then? What exactly has been going on with the NSA that Facebook and Google are so unhappy with?
This last year has shown how much people are not happy with having their privacy broken into. For example, when the Xbox One announced that their new console would use the Kinect to watch users and even recognize them when the came into view, people lost it. This was like having a camera in your home at all times. It allowed the player to do a number of useful tasks but it was still too much for many gamers and the backlash toward Microsoft was so enormous that they had to change many of their policies. Many gamers even said that they wouldn’t buy the console unless they could turn the Kinect off.
This last year has also taught many that online security is a joke. The internet is open to many and that includes those that know how to look at the internet and see the trails left behind. Specific companies exist simply to collect information by following the trails left behind by those on the internet. Websites such as Facebook have information about their users, what they like, what they buy, etc… This information is used to direct advertisements that are most likely to succeed. Apparently, the NSA has sometimes looked at this knowledge without the knowledge the company that holds it.
You may be asking, “how is it possible for so much of my information to be known?” A good question. Tracking cookies are lines of computer code in your internet browser that companies look at to identify the behavior associated with the user.
This use of information collecting is not something other countries are happy about either. The Spain data protection watchdog recently ordered Google to pay a fine for violations of illegally processing personal data. The fine comes at a cost of $1.38 million. Google has stated that they respect the privacy policies in European law. Being the internet giant that it is, it is difficult to differentiate which actions are done by Google and which are simply associated with Google.
Most Facebook and Google users are unfamiliar with the specifics of what the privacy policies are. Spending time getting to know what goes on behind the scenes may benefit those serious about their privacy. All of this has shown the world that technology advances at such a rapid rate that it can be difficult to keep up. The NSA has had connections with Facebook and Google but it appears that some of their actions may not be agreed upon by both parties. Is the NSA stepping out-of-bounds with trying to protect the nation? Many find themselves unhappy with how circumstances have changed due to technology, but with great power comes great responsibility.
By Garrett Jutte