Does Privacy on the Internet Exist?

“If you have something you don’t want anyone to know, you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” –Eric Schmidt

Internet users disclose huge amounts of private information about themselves online. Businesses, white-collar criminals, stalkers, employees, predators, and the government benefit from accessing that private information.

Although the future may be promising in using biometrics to replace passwords, currently, passwords provide little protection and information is easily hacked.

The issue of privacy is compounded as we enter the era of big data. We are getting more and more skilled at accessing large amounts of data.

It’s easy to find personal information online using a Google search, social media, and the deep web.


There is a significant amount of information people can find about you online simply by doing a basic search on Google.

Those that use any of the dozens of Google services such as Gmail, Google+, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Apps agree to have their information accessed.

Google knows a lot about you. Google has the right to store any information about your searches and sell it to advertisers. And, new policy allows Google to monitor you across all of their services.

Google even knows things you don’t search for. Schmidt said “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been.”

Social media

Social media houses a treasure trove of information about you.

Facebook allows users to make queries about you based on over 40 different dimensions from basic information, information related to work and education to data about your Likes, interests, relationships, Groups you administer and your apps.

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Deep web

The deep web comprises information that most search engines can’t access such as personal files that are kept in databases, and public records. It contains 500 times more information than is visible on traditional search engines.

This information can now be reached by anyone using people search engines such as Pipl.

Protecting your privacy

You can take action to mitigate exposure to your private information. You can search anonymously by using secure search engines such as DuckDuckGo and Tor, a privacy network.

You can maximize your privacy settings on social media networks or delete your profiles.

You are able to do a variety of searches to see what comes about you and contact various websites to have your information removed, if possible.

Your privacy will come at the expense of usability and convenience, and will never be absolute.

You leave a digital footprint every time you use the Internet, by virtue of giving and exchanging information, often without even knowing that’s what your doing.

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