Privacy Protection Data
Privacy

What is Privacy Protection? [Updated for 2020]

Everyone uses computers, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices.

It’s easy to feel like the information you receive from these devices only flows in one direction. If you search for something on Google or look at your friend’s profile on Facebook it feels like you’re the one getting information. BUT…Information flows just as much from you into the device and to the services you use as it does from the device to you.

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What is Privacy Protection?

Privacy protection is keeping the information you’d like to keep to yourself from getting into the hands of companies, hackers, government organizations, and other groups. The definition of privacy protection varies from person to person. Each person has different expectations of privacy, so the level of security they need to feel that their privacy is truly protected ranges greatly.

Read More: Why You Should Take Your Privacy Seriously

Advantages of Privacy Protection

  • Protect Your Personal Data
    • Privacy protection keeps your personal data protected from people who may want to exploit it. Minimizing your digital footprint makes it more difficult for people to take advantage of you and your data.
  • Stop Unwanted Solicitations
    • Without privacy, marketers can target advertisements and other messaging directly to you. If these types of ads annoy you, the best way to get rid of them is to prevent the marketers from getting your data. Privacy-intrusive data collection runs the internet advertising industry. If you can end the stream of data you give to the marketers, they’ll no longer be able to target you with ads.
  • Protect Your Email Address
    • If you can keep third-parties from getting your email address, you can avoid getting tons of unwanted spam email. Willingly giving out your email leads to an overwhelming influx of advertising messages in your inbox.

Disadvantages to Privacy Protection

  • Privacy-Focused Products Cost Money
    • Keeping your personally identifiable data secure isn’t free. Because many mainstream services collect and sell your data to make money, private alternatives have to adopt different business models. Free tools often collect your information, so you don’t have to pay. Privacy-friendly business models often use a subscription-based payment model.
  • Is it Really Private?
    • You can take every recommended step towards privacy and due to one weak point, leak your information. It’s our stance that any privacy protection is better than none, but it can be overwhelming. If you feel like your efforts aren’t being rewards, it can be hard to continue using privacy-focused products and services.
  • Your Information Might Still Be Public
    • If you use privacy products your data should be private. Forgetting just one aspect of protecting your privacy could let your personal information slip into a big database and in the hands of an internet advertiser.
  • Your Reputation May Be In Question
    • There are some stigmas surrounding privacy on the internet. Some people feel that the only reason that someone would want to cover their tracks online is because they’re doing something illegal. While this isn’t the case, it’s an unfortunate situation for anyone who sees the advantages of keeping your internet activity hidden from prying eyes.

What is Privacy?

Privacy is the right, or ability, to control the sharing or disclosure of certain information about yourself or your behavior. Privacy can be hard to come by these days because we are so connected and open with our information. Two decades ago, internet privacy would have meant making sure your computer’s network connection was secure. Today, you may use 5 or more internet-connected devices in a single day, including your smartphone, smart home device, smartwatch, tablet, and laptop.

Much of the internet today is being exploited by big companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon trying to collect people’s data for monetization and marketing purposes. Another unfortunate reality is that not only is our privacy being taken from us, but it’s also being sold back to us in privacy-focused products. In many cases, when we’re given access to a free product, we pay with our data. If we don’t want to be tracked, we often have to choose to use paid, privacy-friendly alternatives.

Privacy Laws In The United States

There are tons of laws in place in the United States that protect people’s privacy and transmission of information. These are a few of the main laws protecting people’s private information and communications. You may notice that these laws were all put in place over 20 years ago.

  • Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986: ECPA was enacted to restrict government wiretaps of telephone calls and add protection for electronic data transmitted by computer. It protects citizens from surveillance of digital communications and other digitally stored data by the government. This law has been criticized for failing to protect all communications due to the outdated nature of the law.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996: HIPPA was created to modernize the flow of healthcare information and to protect that information from fraud and theft. The Act established national standards for electronic health care and data privacy.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998: COPPA was put in place to protect children from having their data collected on the internet. It also established regulations for what a website’s privacy policy must include, and when those sites must seek consent from a parent or guardian.

Read More: California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

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