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Concerns Over Internet Privacy

June 29, 2016 | Posted In Internet Law

Internet privacy has become a more pressing issue than ever in recent years. This is especially evident following the high-profile data breaches that affected a number of major companies, as well as revelations about the U.S. government's mass collection of Internet communications. 

Both companies and individuals have rightfully become increasingly concerned about the costs of their private information falling into the wrong hands. The actual financial cost of a privacy breach for a company reached $3.79 million on average in 2015, while individuals also face money expenditures, as well as lost time when their information falls into the wrong hands. 

Even when a data breach does not occur, however, the sheer amount of data collected by everyone from the government, to search engine operators, to marketers, is cause for worry for many Internet users.  Fortunately, a New Jersey Internet law lawyer can help to put minds at ease.

A Closer Look at Some of the Top Internet Privacy Concerns

The Internet privacy concerns of individuals differ from those of businesses. While individuals are primarily concerned about keeping their own data secure, companies have to worry about the reputational damage and legal liability associated with compromising their customers’ information.

Companies also need to be concerned about complying with Internet privacy laws themselves and not causing anger amongst customers by selling their information or collecting information they shouldn't.

Both individuals and companies need to know the top Internet privacy concerns that can affect web surfers, including:

  • The widespread use of cookies

Cookies track browsing habits and personal data. They're meant to make it easier for relevant websites to load quickly, but the number of cookies have multiplied in recent years. Today, the average site visitor may get dozens of cookies from site operators, trackers, third-party advertisers and many others.

Many web users aren't even aware of how many cookies are tracking their every move across the web. Companies, however, should disclose their policies on cookies to avoid angering customers. Various proposals for online privacy bills, including a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act, have also been proposed in recent years in Washington.

That said, consumers and companies need to monitor for developments on data tracking rules.  An attorney can provide insight on privacy policies for customers and can provide help with seeking recourse to consumers whose data is misused in violation of privacy policies.

  • Data in the cloud

Internet users are increasingly storing data in the cloud—which can make it easier for law enforcement to gain access.  Governments and courts around the world made more than 35,000 requests for data from Google over the course of 2015, and some data was produced in 63 percent of cases where a request was made.

The Fourth Amendment does not provide the same strong protections for data stored in the cloud, so private information may be more readily accessible to law enforcement if it is stored online.  Anyone concerned about having their data turned over to investigators should talk with a legal professional about how the U.S. Constitution protects their online information. 

  • Location data

Location data from social networks and from cell-phone GPS devices has already been used to thwart alibis and prove people were at the scene of crimes.  Requirements for obtaining location data are often not as stringent as many people believe them to be, leaving Internet and phone users surprised that police were able to obtain their information.

Get Help From Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA Today

If you have concerns about any of these privacy issues, or you want help protecting customer privacy or believe your privacy rights were violated, you need to take action. Laws are still catching up to a rapidly-evolving digital age, and only an experienced Internet law attorney can provide you with the necessary assistance in protecting your business or your personal information. Contact Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA as soon as possible.

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