Privacy and the Web- Blog Assignment Week 5

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In these later chapters of the book, Berners-Lee starts getting into the privacy part of the World Wide Web. Although he's tried to keep the web completely public and believes everyone should have access to it, there are some parts of the internet that should be private/blocked and personal information should be withheld, at least to certain individuals. In the middle paragraph on p. 126, Berners-Lee explains that we should be able to trust people and that it is an essential part to the Web working at its full potential.

Of course though, we are not able to put our full trust into something or someone we don't know such as a certain website or who's behind a website running it. In chapter 11 on most of p. 145 he goes into talking about "cookies" and linking into a person's computer through a website all possibly with or without a consumer's knowledge. Now days most websites just allow cookies to automatically opt-in a consumer without prior warning. Websites do have privacy policies which are generally supposed to inform you of the data they are collecting from you and if it is being sent anywhere, etc. Because privacy policies are usually extremely long, most people don't either have time to read it over or simply don't want too, which companies know. He also noted that in Europe there are strong regulations over consumer privacy but lack such laws in the United States because the government hopes to have "some sort of self-regulation". This is where trust comes into play. Especially in recent years with the Internet becoming an essential part of daily tasks, people don't have time to look into every website they may be using and make a conscious decision whether or not they can trust them.

It's hard these days to use only websites that you completely trust and understand where all your information is going. It's a harder process to opt-out of giving away personal information than it is to opt-in especially because of cookies. And with the idea of keeping the web as public as possible like Berners-Lee hoped, there will always continue to be a struggle between what should be kept public or private.


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I completely agree with you that in today's society many people are concerned for their privacy. It amazes me how much information companies can get from you just based on what you click on the web. Even though Berners-Lee talks about how there should be trust, people in today's society simply don't trust anyone. I personally am very cautious with the internet, with things such as credit cards, addresses, and other personal information being able to be leaked all over, it makes sense that many people would want security measures in place. The idea that the the world wide web should be kept public is nice in theory, but in reality there are some things that need to be kept private and for good reason.

I feel like growing up with the web, the privacy issue has always been present and will always be there. Companies want to know who has visited their sites, and the idea of "click stream" information (p.144) is what makes the internet such a commodity. The whole idea of the web is openness and sharing information, but Berners-Lee was hoping ,"to maintain integrity" and that this openness "does not imply that all information must always be shared." (p. 143). I think that while growing up with the web I have tied the two ideas together from the news, parents, etc. that the web is an unsecured place, and nothing is every really private, but that is just the way it is. It is hard to maintain that border, but being knowledgeable about the workings of the web and cautious is the best we can do.

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This page contains a single entry by gacek006 published on February 20, 2013 12:00 PM.

It's Up To You was the previous entry in this blog.

www takes off and Berners-Lee sees success is the next entry in this blog.

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