In a recent article, posted by PC World and written by Melissa Riofrio, the topic of online privacy for individuals was addressed in the light of growing threats to that privacy predicted for 2013.

And, while a debate may exist about the meaning of privacy between different generations of individuals, the fact is that the data any individual generates on the internet is still a rich trove of information that says more about you than you may realize — not to mention that it is also a tempting target for marketers and law enforcement officials alike.

This year, your online privacy faces new threats, as a result of emerging technologies and new regulatory efforts that could affect how your Web-based life is protected… or exposed.

Federal law(s) may or may not mitigate those new and already existing threats to your privacy. A case in point could be where efforts to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) aim to make your online data harder to collect and share. But, at the same time, proposed legislation called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) could make your online data easier to obtain.

Riofrio does a pretty good job in identifying and listing some of those threat activities:

  1. The invisible cookie software agents that track your browsing habits and personal data are likely to multiply in 2013,
  2. 36 percent of U.S. consumer content will be stored in the cloud by 2016 as predicted by a recent Gartner survey report,
  3. Location data will make it increasingly difficult for you to wander around the world without someone knowing exactly where you are at any given time,
  4. Posting and tagging photos online helps build a facial recognition database that makes escaping notice increasingly difficult for anyone, and
  5. The government plans to expand its scanning of Internet traffic from three defined sectors: financial institutions, utilities, and transportation companies. Collectively, that covers a lot of consumer activity.

The bottom line as stated by Riofrio is that online threats to privacy will continue to grow unless Congress and other decision-making bodies offer some meaningful support for privacy. Witnessing the conflict between privacy and civil liberties advocates (on one side) and business and law-enforcement interests (on the other) may seem a bit like watching a particularly nasty tennis game, but it all boils down to a matter of openness versus secrecy.

Click here to read Riofrio’s full article, and, if applicable, suggest adding this information as a reading library resource for your organization’s HR or information security team members.

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