Privacy Concerns for Internet

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Human beings have, across the ages, understood the privacy concept and have used it either to disclose or not, some aspects of their lives or themselves. Privacy can, therefore, be viewed as a matter of choices. It is the choice to disclose or reveal details about an individual and his/her life. In essence, people always seek to be in control of the information they show to the wider world. However, that control can be difficult to maintain in the digital world because the control of the information that an individual shares as they encounter the various aspects of the online engagement may lie with other entities.

The Concept of Privacy

Every day, many people find themselves in situations where they have to disclose to either other individuals or organizations some information about, for example where they may be, what they do, and sometimes, how they do it. For instance, when people report for work, they may be required to clock in order to show the time they reported to work. When they use the credit card, they share that information with the bank on where the made a purchase, the time, and the amount spent (Ziesak, 2013). Another example is when people use the mobile phone. The phone company captures the details of the number called, the time, and how long. All these instances demonstrate the instances when people share their personal information without having any capacity to control the sharing of that information.

According to Ziesak (2013), the concept of privacy has not changed over the ages, however, with the emergence of the innovative information and communication technology, the understanding of the concept of privacy has changed. The concern with online privacy takes a larger dimension and be viewed as being different from individuals’ personal environment. People, therefore, are more concerned with the online privacy more than their personal environment because they have no control over the personal information that the online service providers hold in their data banks. Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn & Hughes (2009) observes that the society is headed to an era where people are intrinsically connected to various technological devices and to each other through the internet and, as such, privacy is increasingly becoming a complex and disparate landscape.

Privacy Concerns for Online Users

The privacy concerns for online users are different from those obtaining in personal environment. The privacy concerns are often identified as one of the significant factors those impacts negatively on the internet user’s behavior (Trepte & Reinecke, 2011). Many internet users are often not confident that the service providers’ can ensure the privacy of their personal information. The concept of online privacy has to do with people’s acts of what can be referred to as selective disclosure of individual private information in an online environment. As such, the online privacy can be defined as user’s concern in regard to the individual’s control over the collection of information during their engagement on the internet. Trepte & Reinecke (2011) opine that the term online privacy is also associated with the online user’s lack of control on the usage of the collected information. Suffice to say, online privacy has to do with the users’ concern regarding the type of information that a given online platform may collect and how much control that the users may have over the same information.

The online users have reasons to raise concerns regarding privacy and safety associated with the use of the internet. In the recent past, the media has carried many scandals relating to data breaches, leaks, and cyber attacks. A case in point is the one that involved Facebook and a third party research entity. The case involved the third party organization accessing individual’s personal information with the collusion of Facebook without the knowledge of the Facebook users. The information was used to direct specific political campaign information towards the owners of the stolen personal data.

Another concern is the data exposure. Data exposure happens when data is stored without adequate protection such that it is exposed and can easily be accessed to without authorization. Such was the case with Exactis, a marketing firm which left over 340 million records of customers’ personal data exposed on a server that was publicly accessible (Trepte & Reinecke, 2011).

Risks Associated with Online Privacy

People are more concerned with online privacy than personal environment because of the risks associated with exposed personal data. In the personal environment, people are able to create some form of protection, however, when it comes to online activities, they do not have any control on who accesses the information and what they do with it. The exposed or stolen data can be used for malicious purposes with devastating consequences on the online user (Trepte & Reinecke, 2011). The data can be used to attack the users’ aspects of their lives including access to the bank and credit card data, or insurance. The problem is acerbated by the fact that the users are often unaware that their personal information has been compromised until they face the consequences of the used information.


To sum up, the concerns with privacy in the online engagement is different from those of personal environment. The personal environments can be viewed as easy to protect and an individual has the choice of what information to disclose or not, however, the privacy on the internet is largely dependent on the online services providers and how they safeguard the user’s personal data. It is evident that the user does not have control over that information, and it may be accessed by third parties with malicious intention including cyber attacks, bank, and insurance frauds.


  1. Debatin, B., Lovejoy, J., Horn, A. & Hughes, B. (2009). Facebook and Online Privacy: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Unintended Consequences, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, pp. 83–108
  2. Trepte, S. & Reinecke, L. (2011). Privacy Online: Perspectives on Privacy and Self-Disclosure in the Social Web, Springer Science & Business Media.
  3. Ziesak, J. (2013). The Dark Side of Personalization: Online Privacy Concerns influence Customer Behavior, Anchor Academic Publishing .

Cite this paper

Privacy Concerns for Internet. (2021, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/privacy-concerns-for-internet/

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