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Privacy Concern with Respect to Personal Data

Author:

Jothi Poorna S, Student, Bharath Institute of Law

In today’s digital world each and every transaction takes place through internet. From banking sectors to ordering food, everything can be done in an easiest way within a click. It is due to the drastic development of technology. Recently, in this internet era online social networking has became popular and it also plays an important role in our day to day life. While people share more information of their lives online their privacy and personal data is at stake, in this date privacy is going to be a main concern. So it is quite important to know and understand the privacy risk involved in sharing information on online platforms and also the importance of data protection. The purpose of this article is to give, an overview of privacy concern with respect to personal data and suggestions as how to safe guard our personal data.


Introduction

“Once you’ve lost your privacy, then you realize you’ve lost an extremely valuable thing” - Billy Graham

Online platform has become an integral part of our life as it is mainly used for communication purpose. It connects people all over the world which helps them to share their ideas, thoughts, views and opinions to one another. Many social media applications like facebook, twitter, youtube, email etc are free to use so that many people can access these online platforms and make use of it to reach out wider audience. We should be conscious on what we should share in social media because anyone can gain access to our personal information in these platforms. Even though social media has its own security features, privacy in social media is still questionable. Many cyber crimes take place in social media as these platforms are vulnerable to data theft. In 2016 there were 150 cyber crime cases related to social media compare to that in 2017 the number increased over 300 cases of cyber crime related to social media in our country [1]. Justice delivery mechanisms appear to be very complex and inaccessible to women and the marginalized when it comes to offences related to social media. Technology is becoming more complex because of that evidence collection and investigations are very difficult when it comes to cyber crime and it is often impossible to hold the perpetrators accountable before law [2].


Cyber Crimes

Hacking there are certain people who illegally hack (infiltrate) into people’s computers for gaining access to their sensitive information. It is a crime as it violates our fundamental right to privacy. Not only hacking any technology based software or viruses which pry our computer are invasion of our privacy and violation of our fundamental right that is our right to privacy.


Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware that stops you from accessing your own computer files, systems or networks and the perpetrator will demand ransom for you own files to be returned [3]. In 2019 India lost over 1.24 lakh crore when it comes to cyber crime. Ransomware attacks are increasing everyday attackers are mainly targeting hospitals because they know in an emergency hospitals will pay [4]. There are also spywares which corrupts the data as it contains viruses.


Pharming is another online fraud involving fake websites. The perpetrators try to install or display unwanted links and advertisements. When you accidentally click the link or press any banner advertisements it will direct you to fraudulent websites and the goal is to get your personal data and your payment passwords like credit card number etc. Cyber criminals could then use your personal information to commit financial fraud and identity theft. Cyber criminal also uses web bugs which lead to data theft even though we were cautious enough.


Cyber extortion is the act of cyber criminals demanding payment through the use of or threat of some form of malicious activity against a victim, such as data compromise or denial of service attack. Cyber extortion permeates actions such as ransomware, email ransom campaigns, and distributed denial of service attacks [5].


Cyber stalking is a crime which involves two persons firstly the stalker is also known as attacker who do the crime & secondly, the victim who is harassed by that stalker. Cyber is related to internet and stalking is to browse anyone’s online history with help of any social media or in other websites to know about that particular person is knows as stalking [6].


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Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019

Owing to technological complexity IT (information technology) Act is not enough to prevent perpetrators from invading user privacy. So The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 was proposed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on 11 December 2019. The Bill is still pending as it is analyzed by Joint Parliamentary Committee. This bill mainly focuses on how personal data is to be collected, processed, used, disclosed, stored and transferred by companies, government, any person or body of persons and foreign companies dealing with personal data of individuals in India.


This Bill brought forth certain rights of individual in terms of data principle and it deals with obligations of data fiduciary and its applicability. This bill includes the right to obtain information about their personal data, restricts data transfer outside India, restricts processing of personal data without consent and it also proposes Data Protection Authority which helps to protect personal data of individual and to prevent misuse of user data. It also has its own exemptions such as the Central government has the power to exempt an agency of the government under this act. This Bill also states two tier penalties and compensations [7].


Conclusion and Suggestions

Hackers will do anything to get someone’s private information to use for their malicious purposes. It is essential to realize that it’s difficult to keep your privacy secured all the time. As prevention is better than cure, we should be aware of what information should be shared and what should not be shared on online portals. Even though there are many laws it is our duty to protect our privacy as technology keeps on evolving new threats may arise, excess of information and negligence while sharing information and using internet leads to unforeseeable dangers. The growth of technology got the young generation addicted, parents should supervise their children activities while using online portals and advise them not to share personal information on online portals. We should take some personal measures to protect our privacy and also to protect ourselves from unnecessary cyber threats by creating strong passwords with different combinations, by updating our operating system and browsers now and then because every update contains security patches, by using paid antivirus software which gives additional protection to our data as we should never compromise when it comes to privacy, by blocking messages from strangers and we should never click unknown links, by using safe and secure connection for example VPN which helps as to stay anonymous and most important thing we should never ever share our passwords with anyone including close friends. Nowadays, everyone has a social media account as it is free to use, remember nothing is free in this world, these online platform collect our personal data and use it to showcase personalized advertisements and make money by it, so we should never give permission to access our data while handling online platforms to protect our privacy.


“When something online is free, you are not the customer you are the product”- Jonathan Zittrain.

Opinions expressed in the blogs are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The L Word Blog.

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