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Ensuring Your Privacy "Privacy. There seems to be no legal issue today that cuts so wide a swath through conflicts confronting American society. From AIDS tests to wiretaps, polygraph tests to computerized data bases, the common denominator has been whether the right to privacy outweighs other concerns of society....." Robert Ellis Smith, the Privacy Journal Computers have been a very instrumental technology that has greatly advanced the ways in which we now do things such as; business, daily activities, shopping, scheduling appointments, and many other things. And with more and more people using the Internet, more and more information being passed over the Internet, more problems arise. The Internet has been an advance in technology that has greatly increased the capacities of a computer. These new capacities have been the cause of some serious problems though. One very important trouble is the lack of privacy on the Internet. People pass much important information over the Internet and they expect it to be safe from others. Information passed over the Internet can in fact be intercepted and read by other people. For many years, this has been happening, and it has always been a problem, but with more and more information being passed through, people want something to ensure their privacy. The government does not want to allow everyday people the privelage of computer security. Although they have tried to place laws on the uses of some methods of privacy, they have not been as successful as they had hoped. Privacy is important to people, governments and businesses, and finding a method to protect their information is also a concern. Privacy has been defined as "the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others" (Summers, 22). With the advances in technology, it has become very hard to ensure your privacy. Collecting, manipulating, and sharing data has become increasingly easier to do. Peoples personal data is becoming alarmingly easier to obtain. Our preferences, our addresses, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers all are sold routinely. In a 1995 United States survey, 80 percent agreed that consumers have lost all control over how personal information about them is circulated and used by companies (Summers, 23). Some of the most powerful companies and corporations are powerful because of their ability to obtain private information at anytime. Microsoft, the computer software company, is powerful because it designs the operating system that millions of people use to organize and transmit data. The Washington Post is powerful because it screens, sorts, and defines "the news" for influential readers (Bacard, 33). The average person has little power because he absorbs data form others rather than transmitting data to others. Computer companies have been trying to come up with ways in which a person can have some assemblage of privacy. Privacy is important to people. People do not want others to be able to get this information. Privacy is about power. Information, in the hands of people who know how to use it, is power (Bacard, 33). John Fiske argues in Power Plays, Power Works that people are divided in two distinct groups; the "haves" and the "have nots." The "haves" are those with imperializing power, the dominating group. Localizing power would be the group of the "have nots." Localizing power refers to the weaker, resistant group. Privacy relates to Fiske's theory quite explicitly. The government, criminals, and businesses would be the "haves," while everyday citizens would be the "have nots." Everyday people do not have the power to ensure their privacy like the "haves" do. This is mainly because the imperializing powers try to prohibit the localizing powers from ensuring their privacy. The government has come up with regulations on the export of cryptography to control the "have nots." One method computer companies have come up with to ensure people privacy is passwords. Passwords are everywhere. People have passwords for phone cards, credit cards, cash cards, and on the Internet. The idea behind a password is to make it so someone trying to access your data of hardware is thwarted by inconvenience (Tiley, 77). The harder you make your password, the harder it is for someone else to figure it out, and the safer your information is. Deciding on a good and safe password is the meaningful to privacy. There are many factors in choosing an effective password. Using numbers and punctuation marks intermingled in your password is a good idea. Choosing a password that is longer in the number of characters is also efficient. Also, having your password be case sensitive is important. All of these factors will greatly increase your rates of security. For example, a password that can contain letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and is case sensitive allows the user to choose from about 56 different characters. A six character password in this context would have 30,840,979,456 different combinations (Tiley). Increasing your password to seven characters would have over a trillion possibilities (Tiley, 83). However, a longer password is optimal, you must choose one that you can easily remember. It will take a hacker no time to find your sticky note with your password on it in your desk drawer. A password is easy to remember and hard to guess (Summers, 341). Seeing as how passwords can have billions and billions of possibilities, one would assume that passwords are extremely safe in guarding personal information. This not entirely true. Hackers have computer programs that will try all the words in a standard dictionary, or every number combination. If you had a simple word or number, your password would have been found out. Choosing a short word or number is not efficient. An important date can easily be obtained by a hacker or anyone who simply wants your information. Experience has shown that more than half the passwords chosen can be easily guessed or cracked (Tiley, 79). This fact demonstrates the importance of choosing a safe and efficient password. Another method of ensuring privacy that is becoming more common and efficient is cryptography. Cryptography allows users to pass valuable information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, and anything else important over the Internet without being intercepted by eavesdroppers. Cryptography is the art of transforming information to keep it confidential or to protect its integrity (Summers, 45). The process of encoding and decoding information is called encryption. Historically, encryption was ...

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Keywords: privacy policy, privacy screen protector, privacy policy generator, privacy badger, privacy partners, privacy pronunciation, privacy screen, privacy policy template

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