How Secure are you online

How Secure are you online
Photo by Clint Patterson / Unsplash

Abstract: -

This paper comprises of why the protection of personal data privacy should be looked upon as a matter of concern. This paper also focuses on the Indian legislation which protects or safeguards data in India. Our personal data is dear to us all and people live their lives in the public domain via social media which also includes posting photos of themselves, or what food they ate or sometimes even expressing feelings for the loved ones, but there are some things which rather not shared to the world. Privacy has evolved over the years after humans made new technologies. Aadhaar would be a great example to think, of as it uses data in everything we do. Even though it made people’s life easier who were interested in availing services from the government, but the concern is about that private data which is being misused that too without the consent of the data principal1. Privacy concerns while using the internet are of utmost importance as people share more and more data online than ever before which ends up often sharing billions of points of personal information which may include phone records, credit/debit card transactions, GPS tracking, mobile phones and the list keeps on growing. Privacy is a serious matter of concern as internet users or users online are increasing every day. An estimate of around 4.1 billion people was using the internet in 2019 who had a 5.3% increase as compared to the last year. The global internet penetration rate increased from nearly 17% in 2005 to over 53% in 2019.

Source: Measuring digital development, 2019


The 21st century has experienced a high increase in numerous ways in which one can use the information which is referred to as the “the data age”. There were three major growth spurts for the digital universe in modern memory. The first one was when digital camera technology replaced film, the second one when the digital telephone left behind the analogy telephone and the third one when the TV turned digital. It is believed that in the year 2020 the worldwide consumption of digital data which will be created would reach 44 trillion gigabytes. Privacy is a vital ingredient in the autonomy of an individual. We are ascertained to be humans because of the capabilities of our interactions with others within a private sphere where we assume that no one is listening or observing. The issue of data protection is important both intrinsically and instrumentally. Intrinsically, a regime for data protection is synonymous with the protection of informational privacy. To ascertain the relations, algorithms and discover patterns in all fields of human activities computers can process vast quantities of information. Enterprises all around the world have realised the importance and value of data, databases and the technology used for its mining and use as it is evolving every day. Databases are being used to combine the data and determine the patterns and hidden nuances by the businesses which the breach or is in contravention with Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees the Right to Privacy to all citizens of the country.

The internet has given birth to entirely new markets which are dealing with organizing, collection and processing of personal information, either directly or as a critical component of their business model:

Uber, which is the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles

Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content

Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory

Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate

A web browser, which is used to perform most of the internet-based activities (used to view or access websites) irrespective of it being used in a computer or mobile phone such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera Mini and Internet Explorer etc. is from where the data is extracted or stored. The main function of a web browser is to give HTML which is a code used to design or mark up web pages. Whenever a web page is opened, it starts processing HTML and some other things such as a “cascading style sheet” and JavaScript. Moreover, Web browser’s use extensions to provide additional features and functionalities to the web browsers such as a better interface which also make extensions a vital part of the browser as they also attract the tabs and bookmark feature of the browser.

On the other hand, a mobile application is a software application or a computer program designed to run on a mobile device such as a phone, tablet or a smartwatch such as location-based services, mobile games, web browser, email, calendar, food delivery services, contact database, etc. Mobile applications are generally downloaded from application distribution platforms that are operated by the owner of the mobile operating system such as the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android).

Cambridge Analytica Scandal, which was an eye-opener to the world, because of which the other vital questions emerged, such as how Facebook gave special data deals to devise makers or why and how does google tracks people’s location even if the location services are turned off? A company called Cambridge Analytica had purchased Facebook’s data on tens of millions of people (Americans) without their consent, to build a ‘psychological warfare tool’ which will reflect on US voters to help elect Donald Trump as president. After gathering the data, they could predict people’s personalities and other sensitive details from their freely accessible Facebook likes only because Facebook had allowed third-party apps to access data on their users.
Moreover, India has also experienced losses due to the case of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has almost 20 crore users in India out of which 335 people were affected and 5,62,120 users were potentially affected as they were the friends of those 335 users in the data theft case.

Mobile Apps are a bigger threat to personal information being stolen, as they are the new weak link when it comes to privacy abuse and user data.

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