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The Future Of Privacy: Digital Life In 2025

Question

ASSIGNMENT 1: The Future of Privacy: digital life in 2025
According to the Australian Information Commissioner - “Privacy is important. It is about protecting our information on who we are, what we do, what we think and what we believe”. We live in a digital age and are very much attached to a technology on everything that we do. Our personal privacy is being threatened by a modern technology in a way how we use the technology in our daily life. The Internet companies such as Google and Facebook are collecting our data and creating new services for different advertising companies.

On December 18, 2014, Pew research report “The Future of Privacy: digital life in 2025” (available at http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2014/12/PI_FutureofPrivacy_1218141.pdf) indicated that there will be no privacy in the future and the IoT (Internet of Things) is the worst part of the problem.

Bojanova, Hurlburt & Voas (2014) said, “Today, the Internet of Things. Tomorrow, the Internet of Everything. Beyond that, perhaps, the Internet of Anything—a radically superconnected ecosystem where questions about security, trust, and control assume entirely new dimensions.” http://paris.utdallas.edu/sere14/docs/SERE-2014Voas-paper.pdf

Commence your research for your essay by reading chapters from the text book Quinn (Chapter 5: Information Privacy & Chapter 6: Privacy and the Government) & Reynolds (Chapter 4: Privacy). In completing this assignment, you are encouraged to discuss the topic with your classmates however you will submit an individual essay. Plagiarism is unacceptable and not tolerated by the University. Any person found plagiarising will face disciplinary action. Specific details are available in the policy on Academic Honesty and Preventing Plagiarism.

Your writing needs to be supported by references. You will need to conduct further research online and, in the library, to answer the following questions in your essay. The references need to come from legitimate sources. Each reference needs to be given with an in-text reference and listed at the end of your essay (not part of your word count). A well-supported essay will include at least 10 references. You must use APA referencing style correctly and consistently. Your discussion essay will research and address the following questions supported by references and your opinion:

  • What is privacy?
  • What is digital privacy?
  • Describe digital privacy in Australia.
  • Discuss on different privacy threats.
  • Why is the IoT the worst enemy of privacy? Discuss
  • What will digital life look like in 2025 in terms of privacy? The future of achieving privacy, security and accountability
  • Discuss on privacy solutions and best practices for the Internet of Things.

Answer

Life after a decade or may be less than that would be known as digital life and this would have a great implication on the future of privacy as well. However, it is very crucial to understand what do we mean by privacy before detailing about digital privacy. It is basically security and maintaining of secrecy of private information from the general public i.e. the data should be available only to those whom the publisher wants to disclose to. Privacy confirms that data which is very crucial and confidential in nature is not accessed by somebody who is not authorised to access it. The world is becoming digitalised, so much that there has been a phrase termed as digital privacy which has found an important place in everybody’s lives. As the name says, it connotes towards safeguarding of a person’s data that is used or formulated while using the internet on a computer or such other personal devices (Zamboni et.al. 2017).

Individuals have been reiterating to the fact that privacy is important to them, but like many other problems related to social media, it is difficult to define since it is an extremely private understanding. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner- recognizing the true personal understanding of what one considers as personal- concentrates upon private data defining it as a data set that discovers a person or could discover a person. And the loss of such data can be caused by various factors and they can in turn have an impact on the various types of personal information and lead to a variety of actual or prospective issues. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner had done a survey of the Australians’ behavioural acts towards digital privacy which enabled revealing of the conflicting approach of Australians towards confidentiality in the digital age. The survey had clarified that less than ten percent of the crowd trust social media websites to safeguard their information and almost half of the crowd believe that privacy and secrecy of data in the digital age is their biggest area of apprehension and even after the same, people do not deter from its use(Center for Internet Safety, 2012). However, the survey has also revealed that many people are themselves risking their own confidentiality due to unawareness.

Further to this, researchers have also mentioned that digital age has witnessed a main chunk of power to shift in favour of corporations and governments who have control of an individual’s private information. The digital privacy in Australia, specifically highlights the fact that the allowance and interference of government and corporates has made invasion of the private information of the individuals extensively. And at the same time it has given them permission to keep their data secret with regards what they are doing from the people (Silby,2013). This is what the digital era in Australia is all about which is dangerous for the overall well-being of the citizens of Australia.

Thereby on understanding how digital age has invaded into the private lives of people across the globe, it is very important to understand the various privacy threats it poses. People may be of the view that their digital life may be of no use to others, but they fail to realise that the information which is produced is of much value than a person understands for marketers and law enforcement officials as well. The kind of activities a person performs on the internet complexes and increments the privacy issues as every move a person makes on its computers or mobile phones are being traced by the trackers. Further to this, every person willingly accepts the privacy terms and conditions without reading it carefully and understanding the fact that there lies a huge difference between what the privacy rights are online and what they actually are in reality.

There are various privacy threats some of them being cookie proliferation, location data betrayal, data never forgets a face and scanning in the name of security. There are various cookie software agents who follow the surfing habits of a person and this data is utilised by these advertising agencies to derive more data about the people for their corporate benefits. Although the advertisers conform that they ensure to maintain the privacy of the said information by screening it only in summative form, however, the extent of information a cookie can store about a particular individual can enable a cookie’s owner to gather a shocking quantity about the people being followed. Secondly, location data makes it very difficult for people to roam around without being tracked by someone every moment. Due to possibility of the said tracking mechanism, marketers are able to send promotional ads to them of the nearby areas. However, many a times this is used as a method of spying by the employers which can be dangerous. Thirdly, people may think it is fun to post and tag photos online but actually it is enabling forming a facial recognition information base that ensures absconding discern ever more impossible for anyone. The biggest social website which is into the same is Facebook, and although it says that the main aim of Facebook is just to help find other people scattered across the globe but when they sell the user data base to someone else, how much of privacy is maintained is a question. Lastly, the government has made it a point to scan the accounts of people randomly, even if a person is not a hacker. Even if scanning happens in lump sum, yet the ways and means undertaken to select and store the data creates privacy issues (Riofrio,2013).

In the era of digital life, IoT was once said to be the best friend of a person, however the notion soon underwent a change and now is termed as a foe to many people’s privacy. IoT has ensured to make the most crucial and critical information available everywhere. IoT has led to the advent of various smart devices such as televisions, mobile phones, watches etc, most of which we carry with ourselves everywhere and so does the sensitive data also. Even though safety and confidentially is possible in a mobile phone, but the same is yet to be well advanced for other IoT devices. Although connecting to the world is a good thing but at the same time it is a method of allowing more information to be made available to a hacker (Voiovich,2016). IoT is being considered as the worst enemy to privacy since a smart device gets stolen and the thief utilises the data stored therein to act on the person’s behalf then it may create a big problem as a smart device being stolen means a lot of data also being lost and along with impersonification of the identity (Toms, 2016). Thus although IoT has now become an indispensable part of everybody’s life, yet the risks and intrusion to privacy is too much to handle.

On understanding the way internet is intruding and ruling the lives of people, Pew Research Center has off lately presented their view points about digital life in 2025, basis the forecasts made by around a thousand experts who have construed that internet would soon be perceived as electricity i.e. something which is deeply rooted within our lives but is less evident and noticeable (Caswell, 2015). Further to this, by that time it is expected that the meaning of ‘privacy’ will also change dramatically. People will by chance start living a life which is public by nature thus there may be chances that the word ‘privacy’ may be eradicated totally. It will foresee privacy as a luxurious item. In the next decade, there may be chances of advancement of encryption technologies and boutique services for individuals who are ready to pay an extra penny to ensure better control over their information (Rainie & Anderson, 2014). Soon there will be a tiff between two sides i..e convenience or privacy wherein people think that they should not be on Facebook as it is affecting their privacy but at the same time are of the view that this is one of the best ways to stay connected with people, hence chose convenience over privacy. Thereby by 2025, it is expected that various problems, behavioural patterns and data that one thinks is private will not be so. In terms of privacy, safety and responsibility, the private and the public domains are surely to overlap (Lafrance, 2014).

On analysing these issues, it is very important to find out some solutions to these privacy issues and what best practices should be adopted for Internet of Things. The most prominent method would be ensure to make the devices hardware tamper resistant i.e. to ensure that its physical accessibility is limited. Although internet has made the devices vulnerable to attacks despite of hardware protections installed, yet it would ensure some sort of potential protection from malicious attackers. Further to this, IoT devices are not upgradable (most of them) simply because updating them does not generate much revenue to the manufacturers, hence they try to manufacture such products which have limited life cycle. Thus they should be legally held responsible for upgrading the devices within the decided life cycle of the device. Thirdly, the increasing vulnerability of the IoT devices should ensure that all the devices before being released in the market should undergo, brisk testing mechanism and therefore develop a minimum baseline safety measure. Last but not the least, the susceptibility to hacking and privacy intrusion in IoT is due to the fact that there lacks any such certification that should be adapted so that these engineers who are formulating these devices accept responsibility and produce devices which follow the basics of privacy and security (Corser,2017).

Thus although, the world is and will be more a slave to digitalisation by 2025, privacy is a concern. The ease of connecting to the world is leading to people compromising to their personal life and merging the public and private spheres in an uncanny manner. The future of privacy seems to be doomed by the end of 2025. Steps as mentioned and discussed should be taken by all jointly so that the said issue can be resolved.

References:
Caswell,W., (2015), 20-20 Vision of Digital Life in 2025. Available at http://www.mhealthtalk.com/20-20-vision-of-digital-life-in-2025/ (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Center for Internet Safety, (2012), Privacy and the Internet- Australian Attitudes Towards Privacy in the Online Environment, Available at http://www.canberra.edu.au/cis/storage/Australian%20Attitutdes%20Towards%20Privacy%20Online.pdf (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Corser,G., (2017), Internet of Things (IoT) Security Best Practices, Available at https://internetinitiative.ieee.org/images/files/resources/white_papers/internet_of_things_feb2017.pdf (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Lafrance,A., (2014), By 2025, the Definition of ‘Privacy’ Will Have Changed. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/12/by-2025-the-definition-of-privacy-will-have-changed/383869/ (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Raine, L. & Anderson,J., (2014), What will digital life look like in 2025? Highlights from our experts, Available at http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/31/what-will-digital-life-look-like-in-2025-highlights-from-our-reports/ (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Riofrio,M., (2013), The 5 biggest online privacy threats of 2013, Available at https://www.pcworld.com/article/2031908/the-5-biggest-online-privacy-threats-of-2013.html?page=2 (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Silby,M., (2013), Australia’s privacy challenges in the digital era, Available at https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-privacy-challenges-in-the-digital-era (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Toms,L., (2016), Beware! Data and Identity Theft in the IoT. Available at https://www.globalsign.com/en/blog/identity-theft-in-the-iot/ (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Voiovich,J., (2016), You are your own worst enemy: digital security in an IoT world, Available at http://www.startribune.com/you-are-your-own-worst-enemy-digital-security-in-an-iot-world/407139486/ (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

Zamboni,A., Billois,G., Brun,R., & Dufau-Sansot,Y., (2017), Privacy in the Digital World : Beyond Compliance, Towards Trust. Available at https://www.wavestone.com/app/uploads/2017/01/privacy-digital-world-compliance-trust.pdf.pdf (Accessed on 26th April 2018)

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