Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Computer Ethics and Legal Issues : Ways to Protect Privacy

Privacy in IT refers to data and information privacy.

Data refers to a collection of raw unprocessed facts, figures and symbols. Then, computer is used to process data into information. In general, data include texts, numbers, sounds, images and video.

Information privacy is described as the rights of individuals and companies to deny or restrict the collection and use of information about them.

Every time you click on an advertisement or register a software product online, your information is entered into a database. Computer technology can also threaten privacy through spam. Do you know what spam is? Spam is unsolicited e-mail messages, advertisements or newsgroup postings sent to many recipients at once.

How does computer technology threaten the privacy of our data? It is done through:
  • Cookies
  • Electronic profile
  • Spyware
Computer technology threatens our privacy through electronic profiling. For example, when we fill out a form such as a magazine subscription, purchasing products or contest entry form on the Internet, this data is kept in the database. It will include age, address, marital status and other
personal details.

  • are used to identify users by web casting, e-commerce and other web applications
  • contain user information and are saved in the computer hard disk
  • are used by some websites to store passwords and track how regularly we visit a website, that’s how we become potential targets for web advertisers
  • enable web sites to collect information about your online activities and store them for future use, then the collected details will be sold to any company that requests for it.

Electronic profile
  • electronic profile is the combining of data in a database that can be sold to the Internet by the company to the interested parties.
  • this database is in a form such as magazine subscription or product    warranty cards that had been filled by online subscribers.
  • the information in electronic profile includes personal details such as your age, address and marital status.
  • refers to a program that collects user information without the user’s knowledge.
  • can enter computers, sneaking in like a virus.
  • is a result of installing new programs.
  • communicates information it collects to some outside source while we are online.

We need privacy for anonymity. For example, the Internet creates an elaborate trail of data detailing a person surfing on the Web because all information is stored inside cookies. We do not want our trail to be detected.

We also need privacy for confidentiality. For example, online information generated in the course of a business transaction is routinely used for a variety of other purposes without the individual’s knowledge or consent.  

We do not want our private lives and habits exposed to third parties.

Privacy can be protected by:

(a) Privacy law

The privacy laws in Malaysia emphasises on the  following:
  • Security Services to review the security policy
  • Security Management to protect the resources
  • Security Mechanism to  implement the required security services
  • Security Objects, the important entities within the system   environment

(b) Utilities software


Post a Comment