Introduction to the subject of Ethics of Online Privacy

An introduction to readers and netizens on the subject of ethics of online privacy.


(Photo Credit: HealthWorksCollective)

1) Omer Tene is an Associate Professor at the College of Management Haim Striks School of Law, while Jules Polonetsky is a Co-Chair and Director of the Future of Privacy Forum.

On privacy and big data, they say:

The principles of privacy and data protection must be balanced against additional societal values such as public health, national security and law enforcement, environmental protection, and economic efficiency.

“The tasks of ensuring data security and protecting privacy become harder as information is multiplied and shared ever more widely around the world,” they add. “Information regarding individuals’ health, location, electricity use, and online activity is exposed to scrutiny, raising concerns about profiling, discrimination, exclusion, and loss of control.”

Source: The Ethics of Privacy Protection

Source: Privacy in the Age of Big Data

2) Here are 4 basic, key things that you should do to protect your online privacy:

  • Take control of the amount of personal information that you provide online. Every time you are asked to provide personal information, consider both the risks and the benefits.
  • Educate others about the importance of online privacy and the various steps they can take to protect it. The process of maintaining as much online privacy as possible must be a communal effort for the common good.
  • Get informed about laws and other types of measures that impact online privacy — advocate for the ones you support.
  • Put your money where your privacy is: let companies know that you value your privacy and that you will take your business elsewhere if they don’t.

Source: How to Protect Your Online Privacy

3) This article from Lifehacker explains how we ruin our privacy online every day. Here are a couple of tips on taking precautions:

  • As we all know, broadcasting your location when you’re not at home is problematic. Keep a careful eye on which apps want access to your location.
  • Sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter track what you’re doing on the web to get a better idea of your behavior and serve up personalised ads. They usually do this through cookies, and we make it even easier for them to track what we’re doing by never logging out of these social networks. The good news here is that a browser extension like Disconnect (edit: or TheGoodData) is all you need to make sure companies aren’t snooping on your browsing data without you realising it.

Source: How to Protect Your Online Privacy

4) The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their data online.

According to Jane Frost, CEO of Britain’s Market Research Society: “Innovative use of data for research and for big business is developing rapidly, but approaches to data privacy are not — and this is creating an ethical gray area. Consumer trust in data sharing is taking a beating, and organizations need to commit to ethical data sharing that respects personal privacy or risk jeopardizing their relationship with consumers. Ethical business is good business.”

Ethical business is good business.
— Jane Frost (Market Research Society, CEO)

Source: Information Week

6) The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.

Read about their work and see how you can take action!

Website: EFF (About Us)

Website: EFF (Work)

Website: EFF (Take Action)