Week Four: Privacy and Security

  1. As most weeks, I decided to once again begin by finding an informative summary on the benefits of web security so as to orient myself within the topic. Personally, I am fairly laid-back when it comes to surfing the web and could perhaps benefit from educating myself on how I can be more cautious. I found this article to be effective in delivering a detailed but concise briefing on security risks online and how to prevent, or at least minimize them. The article was straight-forward and manageable. It helped explain the different risks (such as the difference between a virus and a worm) without being bogged down with jargon. I would definitely suggest this to anyone who’s after a quick explanation of the benefits of online security.
  2. From there, I decided to research how others feel on the topics of online security and privacy. This is a short video I found to be effective in highlighting the key risks that users worry about whilst browsing the web. A lot of the concerns expressed are similar to my own, such as the worry that important information (such as credit card information) could fall into the wrong hands.
  3. A sub-topic of online security and privacy we spent a sizable amount of time talking about and exploring was cookies. However, we mostly learned of their negative aspects. I was curious, then, to learn why, if they are in fact such a nuisance, are cookies used frequently in the online world?

    After browsing through a few articles, I found one (above) that was particularly effective in explaining how, as the potential supplier of an online commodity (say website design?), I could make use of cookies to make things easier for both me and my clients. It was interesting to view things from this perspective.

  4. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and so I decided to investigate the negative aspects, as well. From what I’ve gathered, the concerns with cookies is that they often have an agreement with third parties to whom they lend information. This video helped to explain that process to me. Being a New Media student, I find I am a little desensitized to privacy and information sharing issues. With all the information being willfully released into cyberspace, it seems a little improbable that a company is really going to do much by knowing what websites I tend to visit, other than targeting certain advertisements for me rather than others. That being said, it is still a comfort to know that I have the option to delete or disable cookies on my browser, should I choose to at any time.
  5. A question I finish with, then, is whether or not we should be concerned about third parties tracking us. In your personal experience, do you find yourself less concerned about your online habits being sold to third parties, if the website or third party yourself is a website that you trust? Do you believe enabling cookies helps or hinders your online experience?
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