Post-Snowden era has myriad of revelations regarding breaching of privacy. Both internet service providers and government are involved in some serious issues regarding maintaining people’s privacy online. Some websites are also ‘fishy’ and grab personal details of users without their knowledge. However, many measures have been taken to protect people’s privacy while they’re online; it seems that a lot more efforts need to be done for protecting online privacy. FCC and its international counterparts strive for privacy protection in IT across the world. But, as the frequency of cyber crimes keeps on rising, it is high time to set new parameters for privacy protection in the IT industry.
Apple rocks, WhatsApp sucks
Recent annual report from Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that tech giant Apple tops the list of IT companies that protect users’ data from going into the hands of the government. Surprisingly, WhatsApp fails in many parameters along with the US-based Internet service provider (ISP) AT&T. Dropbox and Credo Mobile have done well, but another ISP giant Verizon fails to protect users’ data from snooping.
Time to tighten the screw
It is necessary to mend the flaws to protect private data in more effective and efficient manner. The process of enhancing privacy protection can be accomplished by the genuine help of the government. If the government stays as ‘Watch Dog’, then nothing is wrong, but when government officials indulge in unscrupulous data collection from various tech companies and ISPs, then it is alarming for everybody. Also, if ISPs and social media companies require users’ information for marketing, it is acceptable; but, when it comes to the unlawful use of users’ confidential information, it is completely unacceptable.
In brief, effective privacy protection requires combined and collaborative efforts of government, IT companies, and controlling authorities like FCC.
What we can do?
Ubiquitous implementation of “right to be forgotten”: Last year, an EU court slammed search engine giant Google for refusal of right to be forgotten in Europe. The court has invented the “right to be forgotten” to respect the privacy of users and it applies to every search engine. However, the right requires some more clarification and amendments to avoid its misuse; it is considered as a firm, first step toward protecting privacy. With all necessary amendments, it should be implemented across the world.
Upgrade privacy regulations: Today, as technology advances a lot, it is necessary to upgrade privacy regulations to give more powers to regulatory bodies. Some of the laws regarding privacy protection are either outdated or on the verge of obsolescence. Some steps should be taken at the international level to amend or remove such laws and make new practical laws to address technological advancements effectively.
Innovative steps: Innovation is an ultimate key to meet every challenge. Google has taken a big leap toward privacy protection by giving power to users regarding any app’s data access. Other companies can also come forward with innovative steps to enhance privacy protection. People neither want to reveal data nor they are indifferent, but in the current scenario, they are compelled to compromise with private data to enjoy the Internet and related services seamlessly (read: Free).
Greater accountability: Particularly social media websites seem to have less accountability regarding users’ privacy protection. Steps can be taken to enhance the accountability of such sites. Defining their boundaries related to the use of users’ private data can be one such step. Greater accountability is expected from ISPs as well.
That’s not all. Series of efforts are necessary to address privacy protection in a way that every user feels safe while accessing the Internet.