End-User Privacy in HCI

Privacy is the control of information concerning individual personal information from third parties and a right to remain unidentified in the public realm. Privacy is necessary in the protection of personal security. With the introduction of social media like facebook and MySpace, millions of individuals in today’s technology are subject to privacy threats. Protection of privacy on the internet is essential not to compromise on the privacy risks that range from gathering unauthorized information or statistics on users or spreading of malicious spyware and various software errors exploitation (Franklin, 1999). Users of social networking sites like Facebook need to protect their personal information from people who might be targeting them. Their intention may be to commit criminal activities like fraud, murder or use their information by exposing them in the public domain in an embarrassing manner. Posting of information on the web can affect individuals especially when it comes to the application of jobs and searching of personal information by other people.

Unlike in the past, where individuals could get away with petty offences like school yard fights and vandalism where witnesses forget and memories fade, social media documentation, uploading  of  the internet information is timeless and permanent(Henderson,, 2005). The rights of privacy to the freedom of expression and information are compromised on social media since the person implicated in whatever scam in the public domain will never be forgotten. The right to privacy by users has also been challenged as a result of personal data and messages used by businesses and governments all over the world without permission. A potential danger is eminent since governments could abuse the actions and mechanisms used to protect online privacy by infringing the freedom of expression and the democratic roles of journalism.

Individuals who use the internet have a role to play in their own privacy protection. Information should be availed of all risks involved in surfing and browsing the internet (George, 2004). Measures like deploying encryption tools, updating virus protection, blocking all unwanted pop-ups, minding security settings, controlling cookies, screening e-mails and installing firewalls should be adopted to enhance privacy.