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Online Privacy

The growth of the internet and communication technologies has brought with it numerous challenges in protecting privacy of users. Issues such as interception and monitoring of communications, anonymity and unsolicited marketing all exist even in the physical word – however the increasing use of the internet leads to a whole new dimension and scale of problems. The digital space provides greater and easier options for tracking the activities of people, whether by Governments or by corporates.

In the 21st century, it is often said that information equates to money – companies are hired not only to watch what you visit online, but to analyse the information and send advertising based on your browsing history. This may be through the use of cookies or other technical means – often means that the user is unaware of.

The ability to identify information about a user and then provide information about products and services that the user may like or find attractive may have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand it may lead to greater choice for a user and on the other the privacy of the user may suffer.

The internet is presently a panopticon of sorts where a normal user is likely to be under constant “surveillance” – every movement and click is being monitored by someone (or something) and this information is then processed to ensure that either corporate or government needs are met.

In this context it is particularly important that users of online services are educated about their rights, duties and obligations to enhance their online experience without falling prey to malware or vulnerabilities or having personal information used without consent or in an unauthorised manner.

Sflc.in through its Privacy project work with individuals, corporates and governments entities in attempting to promote a greater understanding and respect for privacy rights of citizens by assisting in framing the law and by demystifying legal, policy and technical aspects relating to privacy in the digital sphere.