In the modern world, the Internet is a splendid place for doing business and for a personal use. In spite of a high level technology development and advances towards the era of computing, which make our life easier, security threats keep on increasing. The personal privacy issues have been a major concern for the personal and business related security. This may lead to the loss of status, liability, reputation and huge downfalls. As our world is increasingly supported by the infrastructure of cyberspace, cyber privacy has become one of the key concerns all over the world. Computers are a fertile ground of data about individuals. A lot of Web sites and Web-based services store the personal information of their users.
Privacy has different meanings to different people and raises various concepts at different levels. Different parties may have opposite views and interests concerning the amount of information, which may be disclosed. Such search engines as Google, MSN and Yahoo propose various technological approaches, which help customers to solve the problem of personal privacy. Almost all scenarios, which include browsing the Internet, making purchases, completing medical tests, corresponding to surveys and the individual’s identity may be dissociated from the rest of information being revealed during the given transaction. The companies based on such technologies have struggled to balance the needs of various customers. Hence, the privacy and security of personal information are being the major concern for many people.
Organization History and Mission
Google Inc. is an American multinational organization. The company is responsible for providing the products related to the Internet and services such as cloud computing, the Internet search as well as software and advertising technologies. It was founded by two students of Stanford University, i.e. Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google was officially launched in September, 1998. It was started in a garage. In 2004, Google raised $1.67 billion; and, nowadays, it has more than 12,000 employees all over the world. The aim of its founders was to organize the information and make it useful and accessible to the whole world. The current headquarters of the company are located in Mountain View, California, where it moved in 2006.
Google is known as an Internet search engine, which operates around the world. The company also provides a variety of Internet products and services including Google Books, Google Images, Google Earth, Google Maps, Gmail, Google News, Google Translate, Google Calendar and others. In 2003, Google purchased Blogger.com, which is the ninth most popular global website; and, in 2006, it bought the YouTube website.
Google has also become a hardware company, which has the partnerships with major electronics manufacturers. It runs more than a million of servers over the world. Every day, it processes over one billion search requests and more than twenty-four petabytes of user-generated data. A mission statement of the company is to make the organized world’s information accessible and useful” (Schneider).
Nowadays, Google is one of the most dominant Internet search engines, which is followed by Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask and AOL.
MSN, originally called the Microsoft Network, is a series of Internet sites and services that are provided by Microsoft. At first, it was a provider of Internet and online services in 1995 with the aim to coincide with the release of the operating system Windows 95. Being a simple online service and an experiment at the Internet content of interactive multimedia as well as one of the most popular providers of a dial-up Internet service, MSN is a very popular Internet portal nowadays. The brand name MSN was used to promote the web-based services in the 1990s as Microsoft Messenger, Hotmail and others before they were recognized under the name of Windows Live in 2005.
It is considered to be one of the most visited domain names in the Internet. MSN Web portal provides users with a wide range of information, news, entertainment portal, online shopping, communication services and the Web-based e-mail service called Hotmail and MSN Instant Messenger.
Among the services provided by Microsoft are Msn Music, Msn Messenger, Msn Groups and Msn Chat as well as sports (Why Do We Need Msn?). The efficiency of MSN is increasing due to its attitude, which focused on its customers and good marketing strategies. In general, Microsoft Network covers 50 country-specific sites, which are in more than 20 languages.
Yahoo! Inc. is a multinational Internet corporation which has its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, the United States and its offices in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, the students of Stanford University. It was incorporated in 1995 and went public in 1996. It is a search engine, which is also known as a web portal; and it is famous also for such services as Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Directory, Groups, Yahoo!, News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Among other services provided by Yahoo! are the online mapping, answers, advertising, fantasy sports, video sharing and social media website. The Web site Yahoo! is considered to be one of the most popular sites among Americans and a leading commerce, media and global communications company.
The company owns other search engines as Overture, All the Web, and AltaVista. Yahoo! is monthly visited by 700 million people in over 30 languages.
Nowadays, Yahoo! is among the most trusted and visited Internet destinations. The company focuses on creating communications, a content and a community platform that allows consumers to get experience and solutions. The company has over 12,000 employees working in 25 countries; it offers a comprehensive network of services to over 345 million users every month.
www.yahoo.com is a great guide in term of reaching the household, advertising, traffic, and business users. In order to enhance the Web presence and productivity of Yahoo’s customers, the company provides online enterprise and business services, which include video and audio streaming, Web site services and tools, management and hosting of a store, Corporate Yahoo!, and a customized enterprise portal solution (The History of Yahoo! – How It All Started).
Private Policy Peculiarities
The company maintains that it does not share or sell its users’ personal information without their personal permission. It has also emphasized that users may clear their search history, edit or delete a YouTube history or use various services that are provided by the company being signed in or out, use Google Dashboard and Ads Preferences Manager in order to see which data has been collected and, if desired, to remove the information from the company’s services.
The Microsoft Network claims that it is fully committed to the user’s privacy protecting as the data collected by Microsoft are applied by MSN Privacy Statement through its MSN services and sites. WindowsMedia.com, microsoft.com, Xbox.com, and MapPoint are the sites and services that are linked from the MSN Web site and have their own privacy statements. A great attention is paid to the personal information collected from children.
In case you register, Microsoft and other companies may get the collected information due to co-branding of services. The Microsoft Network ensures to use a variety of procedures and technologies that help users to protect their personal information(MSN Privacy Statement). The confidential information as a password or a credit card number is protected through the use of encryption.
The goal of Microsoft is to build more secure software. In order to guide the security activities of customers it uses the threat mitigation, the Security Development Lifecycle, and Privacy guidelines, which are used to develop software services and products and the in-depth defense.
It is claimed that Yahoo! takes the security very seriously and takes various steps to protect the customers’ information. Yahoo! is constantly implementing the improvements in security technologies and practices.
Privacy Issues in Cyberspace
Internet Privacy is a very complicated issue, which is studded by conflicting interests, being full of misinformation and technology snafus. The companies, which run their business online and privacy advocates, are in a stalemate as they want to share as little information as possible, whereas Web sites want to know as much as they can.
Privacy is a controversial issue in cyber space, which has various meanings as it may denote the anonymity, a security aspect of information or an individual. The issue is when the Internet security arises when a website user has to give out the personal data in the Internet. Web sites providing the online shopping ask users to give the numbers of their credit cards, email the sites to allow the third parties to store and read emails or even track the website visitors.
Internet privacy is a kind of a subset of computer privacy, which consists of data privacy related to the avoidance of improper disclosure information identifying a person, the collecting and storing. Institutions and businesses, which collect and store information, can identify the users’ face potential liability according to privacy laws in the U.S. and abroad. The threat of cyber attacks and intrusions exposes the companies to sanctioning under the federal and state cyber security laws concerning a data breach (Privacy and Cyber security).
Thus, Cyber security is gaining a wide adoption due to the need to develop secure products, appreciate insecurity consequences, implement security practices, improve convenience of users, assess the value of security improvements, and many others. The consumers’ and enterprise concerns are constantly increasing due to the increasing number of identity theft, cyber-attacks and terrorism. As a result, many industries and organizations have come to the conclusion that their ability to gain confidence of customers depends on the adoption of improved security models, improvement of software development and practices of systems engineering.
Using Security to Protect the Privacy of Customer Information
Nowadays, one of the most important issues among organizations and enterprises is confidentiality if the customer data are being in accordance with customer demands and government regulations. The violation of demands and regulations may spoil the reputation of any organization. In spite of the fact that the Internet provides millions of people with great conveniences, it is the easiest way for organizations to collect the data about customers.
Thus, in order to assess risks, managers of information security have to plan a system breach to minimize the threat of disclosing the private information of customers. The solution is to shape the selection of security solutions and to encompass a mixture of technologies, which should be used to evaluate the situation.
A rapid development and growth of Internet has increased the threats, which may be faced by separate people or organizations, in general. Small and medium enterprises depend on the Internet to increase their profits. The rapid growth of Internet use and development of technologies have considerably increased the threats to protect their business and products. The age of increasing connectivity provides the humanity with a variety of threats. Privacy policies of Google, MSN and Yahoo! have some common characteristics, which explain why they collect the personal data, the rights of individuals providing the personal information, how these data will be used, the steps which may limit a disclosure of information and others.
It is necessary to provide the Internet users with the adequate information about privacy practices and backed up with a regular auditing. Web sites and services should encourage various branding techniques. The main point is that they have to unite their efforts in order to provide the meaningful information for users and find out the ways not to require the users’ disclosure of personal information.
The protection of personal information of a customer, which has been once collected, is very important and critical to the success of any organization and business. Information security gives organizations an opportunity to operate responsibly with the customers’ personal data.
In spite of various technologies being used by the above mentioned websites, using the Internet each individual or company can and should take some steps to protect the personal information and minimize a likelihood of a security incident.