Law in the Internet Society
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How to prevent our privacy from being abused in the Internet Society

-- Revised by KeisukeHayashi - 25 Dec 2020

1 How to protect our privacy

Personal data has become exploited once we give our consent to complicated terms and conditions of big data companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. They gather, profile, analyze, and use our personal data for their commercial purposes. As a result, our privacy turns out to be used in a manner which is not expected at the time when we agree with the terms and conditions. A merit of such usage is, for example, detecting improper access from places where the person improbably would not access. On the other hand, such personal data is used for presenting excessive target advertisement to individuals, and evaluating individual character. It was only recently that Amazon abandoned the plan for using AI technique for recruiting. In addition, it is maintained that big issues are (1) profiling process is vague, and (2) it might last “existing stereotypes and social segregation” according to the “Guidelines on Automated individual decision-making and Profiling for the purpose of Regulation 2016/679"(the " Guidelines ")" adopted by European Commission on 3 October 2017 ("I Introduction Guidelines").

I am of the view that to protect our privacy from data companies’ invasion and control our privacy on our own discretion, there are two measures i.e., (1) laws and regulations, and (2) improvement of our IT knowledge and technique, which I will explore in the following essay.

2 Laws and regulations

To seek possible counter measures for protecting our privacy, General Data Protection Regulation (" GDPR ") is the most leading regulations and useful in relation of personal information regulations.

GDPR defines “processing of personal data” and regulates processing of personal data (Article 5, 6 GDPR). Processing means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data, and profiling falls within the scope of processing (Article 4 (2), (4) GDPR). GDPR analyzes the risk of handling personal data by business operators, and stipulate the definition widely compared to other jurisdiction. For example, at an early stage, it classes cookie identifiers as a type of “online identifier”, meaning that in certain circumstances these will be personal data. As a result handling cookie identifiers will be under the regulation of personal data (Article 4 (1) GDPR) although cookie itself might not be considered as personal data. In addition, profiling is prohibited in principle and permitted on prescribed exceptional conditions (Article 22 GDPR, IV C Guidelines), which is not expressly prescribed under the relevant laws of the United States and my country, Japan.

GDPR leads us from the perspective of personal data and its regulations. We can refer to GDPR regulations to regulate our personal data properly. As cookie identifier has become regulated in Japan, some states of the USA and other jurisdictions. Profiling is still under the argument in Japan, but the government tries to regulate it. We must check the current status of personal data usage and revise laws and regulations as is necessary.

3 Improvement of our IT knowledge and technique

(1) Education

To improve our IT knowledge and technique, education is one of the most powerful methods for us to learn fundamental things which are necessary to our lives. We learn how to read, how to write, and how to count on the term of compulsory education at elementary school. Considering computer knowledge and technique is one of the most important things today, it is preferable to learn them at the age when children are young. Unlike the days when I was an elementary school student about twenty years ago, many children learn basic computer technique in elementary school these days. In some schools, they even learn programming skill which is, I believe, the key to protect our right to privacy.

However, to my extent of understanding, current education does not teach computer knowledge and technique from the perspective of enabling people to protect their right to privacy from data companies. Scope of education is decided by competent government and such decision might take some time and might not be sufficient. Thus, it is not enough for each person to rely totally on educational system and they should learn on its own. Creating study groups and having lecture from private teachers are useful. Also, sharing IT knowledge and technique thorough appropriate system and software will one of good ways.

(2) Appropriate system and software

Today, people can share their skill and knowledge through the Internet by creating software or system which enable people to learn IT technique freely and easily. People who are aware of danger of using social network service are able to create tools and device which will let other people learn how to use computers and internet services useful without being exploited by commercial companies. This would be easier and faster way for us to share the knowledge with people all over the world. People who can teach their knowledge and technique will be able to hold their lecture and seminar for a fee online. People will be able to get access to such knowledge and technique through their Internet, which will be able to strengthen their protection of right to privacy.

4 Seeking our better method

As mentioned above, laws and regulations, and improvement of our IT knowledge and technique are good way to protect our privacy. We must keep analyzing what the risk of personal data is and revise laws and regulations as necessary. We also have to improve our methods of education and sharing of IT knowledge and skills so that we are able to protect our right to privacy properly.

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r3 - 25 Dec 2020 - 02:47:47 - KeisukeHayashi
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