Data protection is the relationship between collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political issues surrounding them. Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected, stored, used, and finally destroyed or deleted – in digital form or otherwise. Improper or non-existent disclosure control can be the root cause for privacy issues. Data privacy issues can arise in response to information from a wide range of sources, such as healthcare records, criminal justice investigations and proceedings, financial institutions and transactions biological traits, residence and geographic records, etc.
Data protection is concerned with the use of data while protecting individual’s privacy preferences and their personally identifiable information. The fields of computer security, data security and information security design and utilize software, hardware and human resources to address this issue. As the laws and regulations related to data protection are constantly changing, it is important to keep abreast of any changes in the law and continually reassess compliance with data protection and security regulations.
The ability to control the information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and who can access that information, has become a growing concern. These concerns include whether email can be stored or read by third parties without consent, or whether third parties can continue to track the web sites someone has visited. Another concern is web sites which are visited collect, store, and possibly share personally identifiable information about users. The advent of various search engines and the use of data mining created a capability for data about individuals to be collected and combined from a wide variety of sources very easily. In order not to give away too much personal information, e-mails should be encrypted and browsing of webpages as well as other online activities should be done trace-less via anonymizers, or, in cases those are not trusted, by open source distributed anonymizers, so called mix nets, such as I2P or Tor – The Onion Router. Email isn’t the only internet use with concern of privacy. Everything is accessible over the internet nowadays. However a major issue with privacy relates back to social networking. For example, there are millions of users on Facebook and regulations have changed. People may be tagged in photos or have valuable information exposed about themselves either by choice or most of the time unexpectedly by others. It is important to be cautious of what is being said over the internet and what information is being displayed as well as photos because this all can searched across the web and used to access private databases making it easy for anyone to quickly go online and profile a person.