As the Internet has been growing in popularity, it has been attracting attention not only from legitimate users, businesses, and organizations but also from scammers, hackers and all kinds of unsavoury people that view honest Internet users as an opportunity to get some easy money.
Even if no one steals your money, websites, businesses and people can collect all kinds of information about you on the Internet and then use this information for all kinds of purposes, from trying to run scams on you by pretending to be your friend who needs money to selling your information to all kinds of advertisers. When you combine attempts for trying to get your information with the fact that many of the websites that you visit know your location and when you use websites using your cell phone, you most likely have your global positioning system enabled, privacy matters become even more serious.
Whenever you have your cell phone with you, be it a smartphone or the simplest flip phone without Internet access, your cell phone provider can tell your location. While your smartphone can be of great help to you in giving you directions and showing you businesses that are in a close proximity, your phone can also report your location to people you would prefer didn’t know it.
Finally, even when no one is trying to get your information or your money, some hackers are trying to take over your computer so that they could use it to send spam or do computational work. This means that when you connect your new computer to the Internet, it is not a question of will it become a target for an attack. It is a question of when it will become a target.
Advances in technology are invading privacy more and more, yet they are doing it in a way that doesn’t raise any concerns. For example, technology innovations that most people use every day, such as credit cards, directions on smartphones, car toll payment tags allow for tracking of every purchase and almost every movement. The Internet doesn’t stop the trend. It only extends it. Information about much of what you do online, including websites you visit and purchases you make, can be recorded and tracked.
Add to this the fact that a lot of information about you is available on the Internet directly from the government because of freedom of information laws. In the past, someone had to go to a library to find an old issue of a newspaper or go to a local city hall to search for information in government archives and files. Today, much of this information is available on the Internet, easily and instantly.
Some people worry that hackers will intercept their emails. This is actually not very likely. A bigger problem is advertisers who track which websites you visit and then show you ads based on this information.