Should people have the right to choose what to share and to be paid for their own information?

One viewpoint is that such sharing of information helps economies and improves our own experiences online. The internet is a largely free service, and sharing personal data is the price we pay. I’m not happy with this situation, for the use of my information without consent is a violation of privacy.

Today I called ABSA bank to request a non-obligation estimate on home insurance. To my astonishment the sales operator requested I first give her my Identity Number, this surprised me as I saw no logic in providing her with my personal information for this was clearly outlined that this was a non-obligation quote. Needless to say – I categorically refused!

She insisted and did not assist me in providing me even a rough estimate. I have no account with ABSA Bank so I found this process to be somewhat illogical and unorthodox. Her only reason for requiring my Identity number was to “bring up my profile”…now if this does not alarm you then you are too trusting and that YOUR data is possibly being bought and sold without your knowledge or without your consent,  how did ABSA Bank get my data?

The World Economic Forum reported that 15billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2016 and 50billion by 2020. The amount of data stored on the internet is predicted to grow exponentially and looks set to be 44 times larger in 2020 than it was in 2009. It is little surprise that internet revenue has also grown strongly over the last ten years, or that in 2013 it hit $42.8bn in the United States.

In addition with the increase of identity theft and fraud, why are people so willing to provide their personal information to Banks, sales representatives and companies. One must understand that these are companies whose aim is to make a profit of you. Now these same companies who do not need to know what you eat and what car you drive or what are you searching online to thereby customise your search engine to give you recommendations to third parties companies they have sold your information. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook have business models underlined by the use of personal data, but most people would have trouble knowing who exactly has access to the data trail they are generating across the internet.

One viewpoint is that such sharing of information helps economies and improves our own experiences online. The internet is a largely free service, and sharing personal data is the price we pay. I’m not happy with this situation, for the use of my information without consent is a violation of privacy.





source: 12/03/16

Authoritarian and democratic leaders alike are passing laws that are strengthening official powers to regulate the online content of private users.

Problematic new laws are emerging in democratic and authoritarian countries alike. Democratic states have struggled to draft legislation that adequately balances legitimate priorities like counterterrorism with the protection of citizens’ rights online. Countries with effective democratic institutions allow for public consultation and correction when laws infringe on fundamental freedoms.

New laws criminalised online dissent and legitimised over broad surveillance and data collection, while more people are being arrested for legitimate online activities than ever before.

Authoritarian and democratic leaders alike believe the internet is ripe for regulation and passed laws that strengthen official powers to police online content, said Sanja Kelly, project director for Freedom on the Net. The scramble to legislate comes at the expense of user rights, as lawmakers deliberately or misguidedly neglect privacy protections and judicial oversight.

More people are being arrested for their internet activity than ever before, online media outlets are increasingly pressured to censor themselves or face legal penalties, and private companies are facing new demands to comply with government requests for data or deletions.



Between May 2013 and May 2014,      41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalise legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.

In Ethiopia, a new cybersecurity law states that social-media outlets, blogs, and other internet-related media have great capabilities to instigate war, to damage the countrys image, and create havoc in the economic atmosphere of the country.

The law empowers the government to investigate computers, networks, internet sites, radio and television stations, and social-media platforms for any possible damage to the countrys social, economic, political, and psychological well-being.

In the Middle East, Jordan broadened its definition of illegal terrorist activities to include acts that could damage the countrys relations with foreign countries, including the online publication of critical commentary on foreign leaders.

In Kenya, a new information and communications law signed in December 2013 gave the government-appointed regulator vaguely defined new powers, including the authority to impose punitive fines on both journalists and media houses for alleged ethical violations.

Content blocking without a court order: Measures that empowered government agencies to block content without judicial oversight and with little or no transparency were especially notable in five countries-Turkey, Thailand, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Italy.

In Turkey, after audio recordings implicating highlevel officials in a corruption scandal were leaked on YouTube and SoundCloud, new legal measures empowered the state regulator to block websites without a court order in cases that violate privacy or are considered “Discriminatory or insulting.” The regulator later blocked YouTube to suppress an unverified recording of a national security meeting. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, has vowed to “Wipe out Twitter” and called social media the “Worst menace to society.”

In Thailand, judicial oversight is legally required when web content is blocked, but court orders from the past year undermined that requirement, allowing information officials to block web pages that are “Similar” to those specified in the order without seeking separate permission. The situation worsened following the May 2014 coup, as military leaders issued censorship directives under martial law, blocking more than 200 pages in the week after they seized power.

In late 2013, for example, the research and advocacy group began hosting content that is banned by the Chinese government on “unblockable” domains owned by Amazon and other major companies, which officials cannot risk censoring because of their large commercial footprint within China.

Restrictions targeting expression on social media were particularly draconian in Vietnam. Decree 72, enacted in September 2013, extended prohibitions against political or social commentary from blogs to all social-networking sites.

Criminal defamation laws are especially problematic given the ease with which casual remarks on social-media platforms can be targeted by officials for reprisal. In January 2014, a Zimbabwean user was arrested for calling President Robert Mugabe “an idiot” on his Facebook page.



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