The Right to Search without Snooping

Everybody uses the Internet to a certain extent. I know that I have numerous social media sites and constantly do web searches for everything. Up until recently however, I did not realize how much information we can give away about ourselves with those web searches. I had no idea that companies use web search information for target advertising. According to Article 18, Long Live the Web, companies that snoop are violating the network rights of citizens and they compare snooping to wiretapping a phone or opening postal mail. One company given as an example of snooping, Phorm, used an ISP to look at every URL that their customers were browsing. They were using this information to produce target advertising. Snooping purposes go far beyond advertising though. A potential employer could use this information to discriminate against a potential employee based on their searches, a life insurance company could deny coverage to an applicant based on their searches for medical conditions, or internet predators could use URL information to stalk someone. In fact, Congress is pushing a bill so that internet providers will be required to keep records of customers’ information which includes bank account numbers, credit card information, IP address, among other things. After reading the article, I did a quick web search for internet snooping and one of the first things that popped up was a guide on how to snoop on “someone from your past or present.” That is scary. There are actually sites and softwares for purchase out there that anyone can easily access. Is nothing we put on the internet safe? I know one thing, I will definitely be more careful next time I go to search for information on the Internet.

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