Anonymity, Privacy and Security
If you’ve been using these words interchangeably thinking these three words are all the same, here’s your cue to stop for a moment and think. We won’t blame you though as the online world have definitely put some blurred lines on these concepts. Although they are all considered beneficial and critical to us, these three words should be treated differently especially in the realm of cyber space.
Privacy on a digital perspective, is a concept where we control what goes out to the public and what activities you keep to yourself or a group of people online. For instance, your social media account’s setting can be set to public so everyone can see all your posts and pictures, with transparency on your real identity. But you can also set it to private so you can limit the visibility of your posts to you or to a specific group.
Whereas privacy allows you to continue doing your activities while keeping the real you, anonymity hides your real identity online so you can comment on posts, stalk on people and check out competitors without risking your career or social status using a pseudonym, maybe under a different name or account.
Security on the other hand means being safe from any form of threats to your personal data while browsing sites, signing in on social media, using applications and filling out forms. This is regardless of the first two concepts- privacy and anonymity.
WHY DO THEY MATTER?
We all know that by putting any of our information online, we are already exposing ourselves to hackers and harassers that can take advantage of our online presence. Based from the studies conducted by Pew Research Center survey:
- 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
- 12% have been stalked or harassed online.
- 11% have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
- 6% have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
- 6% have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
- 4% have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.
The amount of data available and exposed online is increasing everyday faster than we can imagine. Cyber crimes are becoming more prevalent and the internet is no longer a safe space. Now more than anything privacy, anonymity and security should be an utmost priority to keep the society in check.
In order to preserve online privacy and anonymity, we need to step up our game on securing our personal data. Here are few and simple ways on how you can enhance your online security, privacy and anonymity.
- Restrict access for all the devices you use like laptop, phone or tablet that contains sensitive information.
- Follow a two-step authentication method to all your existing accounts, especially on social media and emails.
- Do a regular digital clean-up. Delete files and apps that are no longer in use and withdraw your access.
- Install a piece of anti-virus software or web application firewall.
- Use encryption and VPN.
Remember, data privacy is everyone’s responsibility.
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