How often have you posted photos, videos, your company’s information or work online? How often do you save private information into your Drop Box or on social media sites? I’ve often used these methods as they enable me to share information with specific people, or save my own information on a media source that makes it easy for me to access it from any location and any computer. However, I was stunned, during an ENTR 3211 Hot Topic discussion. It was brought to the classes attention that all information uploaded are actually no longer private and are legally allowed to be used by other businesses, the social media host, the government etc. So should we use Google or other online sites?
- Information uploaded is protected by the Privacy Act which limits the collection, use and publication of personal information.
- PIPEDA (Protected by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) protects individuals, to a certain extent, as it sets rules for methods in which private sector corporations use an individuals personal information for commercial activities.
- Businesses and online hosts have found methods enabling individuals the option of protecting their actions from being tracked. For example, on browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, individuals can clear their browser history or remove cookies, thus, limiting corporations from following them or gaining access to their personal account information.
- Unless the user gives consent, Google does not share an individuals information
- Without publicly stating this fact, some sites such as Google, have a hidden clause that permits them to collect personal information , package them and sell them to corporations and high bidders.
- Since many legal documents are long, wordy and in fine print, many users do not read the document, thus, they often find themselves accepting the terms and conditions without realizing they have just handed their privacy over.
- According to Bill C-30, the Government of Canada is able to access anyone’s online information without consent.
In My Opinion….
I have never trusted online sites for maintaining private information. My initial view, I’ll admit was a little naive; I didn’t trust the sites, primarily because privacy clauses were so small and hard to find on web pages. However, based on our class discussion, which included the facts that privacy protection acts are emphasized, while the loopholes are discrete, and that our personal information is used by marketers who then track our actions through cookies and spam us with information or use our private information for their own marketing strategies, I have a better reason not to trust online sites with private information. However, what do we do when our friends and family posts private information about us online? Well, according to the DMCA (Digital Media Copyright Act), to have information removed, one would need to write a letter to the website provider’s DCMA Agent ( Lawfirms, n.d.) Click here for more information . So online sites are convenient, but if one desires to use it, they need to take time to read the terms and conditions. I further suggest that the government takes a more active role in requiring online sites maintain an individual’s privacy, while permitting them to use the site. The individual should have the option as to whether they would further like to make their information public.
Laws Protecting your Private Information Online | Lawfirms.com. (n.d.). Find a Lawyer. Learn the Law. Get Legal Advice.. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/technology-law/internet-law/protecting-your-privacy-online.htm