School of Communication + Journalism students in the Fall 2018 Social Media and Globalization course created an educational website to inform the public about online privacy rights and how to securely navigate the internet. The informative website is called Secure the Net: Your guide to privacy in today’s digital landscape.
The site provides the latest resources, tips and statistics on digital privacy and surveillance to help users “breathe a little easier when using the internet.” New advancements in technology are making it easier for the government and big corporations to track private internet activity. Also, outdated privacy laws are allowing for personal data to constantly be collected and sold. These occurrences are leading Americans to believe that they have to choose between safety and privacy. The website was created by Karina Massiel Del Campo, Juan J Diaz, Patricia Machado, Natalie Orta and Roger Sierra.
“The reason why we decided to create Secure the Net for our project is because we wanted to spread awareness on digital surveillance and privacy. Security breaches are happening every single day. We wanted to create a place where resources and tips on internet security were easily accessible to anybody at anytime,” said Machado. “We feel like Secure the Net is the perfect guide to navigating the internet in a safer and smarter way.”
One daunting statistic that was revealed from an online survey distributed by the website creators showed that 92 percent of the individuals surveyed do not read the terms and conditions while downloading apps to their personal devices, thus unknowingly granting access to their personal data.
“The digital era has rapidly developed to a point where the extraction and sale of personal data for advertising purposes has become a defining characteristic. The massive increase in commercial surveillance along with efforts from ISPs to censor and slow down websites has many in the public concerned about online civil rights and privacy,” said David Park, professor of social media and globalization. “FIU students in the School of Communication and Journalism are developing creative solutions to address these challenges.”
The students also created a video explaining why they created Secure the Net and how to navigate it: