Is Privacy Impossible?

no-privacyLast week, Apple found themselves in a bit of an iCloud controversy, when several well-known celebrities had their Apple accounts hacked into, and their private photos exposed all over the internet. Apple claimed there was no breach of their iCloud services, but the massive celebrity nude photo hacking still puts into question how secure our private information (or photos) actually are. In the midst of this controversy, Apple decided to introduce the new “Apple Pay” and “Smartwatch” which allows individuals to buy items wirelessly and monitor one’s health, respectively.

For most of us, we have an array of essential private information on our smartphones. Bank information, vital passwords, photos, to name a few. But with hackers constantly looking for new ways to steal private information, can we really maintain our privacy with all of these new products that provide new opportunities for hackers? Apple thinks were fine. Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Executive, claims that Apple Pay is merely a channel between the merchant and the bank (so no, hackers shouldn’t be able to hack into your Apple Pay account and steal all of your financial info…yet).

Apple is making an honest effort to be clear that they are making strides to protect all of your personal info. Apple Watch does not let app developers store any health info on Apple’s iCloud service, (but wait, does that mean iCloud isn’t reliable to store private things…just a thought!) and that users can decide which apps had access to their health info logged on to the device. Apple Pay also relies on technology that exchanges information wirelessly between devices, referred to as Europay, MasterCard and Visa, or EMV, which is supposed to be more secure.

Personally, I am skeptical that our private information is ever secure. Every time we purchase something online or enter our bank card number on our phone, we put ourselves at risk. All of the new products that Apple comes out with are indeed useful and innovative, but they have the potential to pose unintentional security risks that Apple may be unaware of until a breach occurs. Apple is a big enough company to install rigorous security measures to protect its users, but the bigger the company, the bigger the opportunity for hackers to find ways to sneak in. Even with Apple making efforts to protect our information by securing rigid guidelines on how our information is handled, do we really trust that our private information is safe?


6 thoughts on “Is Privacy Impossible?

  1. I personally think that with each new advance in technology, especially making it catered to the individual level, that data privacy will always be an issue. The extent to ways information could be “hacked” is probably not known and an issue for regulators to keep up with. I think all companies face this issue and have to keep up with current tools available out there to stay compliant or face legal issues. The company that I work for now goes through this and it seems like a new tool is pushed each year to keep data private. Employees in my company also have to take training annually in regards to data privacy. I guess a question that could be raised is a solution to draw up stiffer penalties for those who are caught trying to “hack” data? Or would this just be a bandaid to a bigger issue?

  2. As a Chase Bank customer, I recently learned about an upcoming merchant solution to fraud. The smart chip technology, EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa), from what I understand widely used in Europe and I believe started in France, is moving to be the global standard for credit and debit cards in order to help increase security and reduce fraudulent activity by protecting sensitive data, and is much safer than the magnetic strip/stripe currently being utilized. The magnetic stripe can be copied, whoever accesses the data can gain the sensitive cardholder information leaving it much easier to detect and can replicate the data over and over because it doesn’t change (and by using a card reading type device can allow hackers to create counterfeit cards). The EMV chip technology is different because it has authentic values within the chip that gets verified by the point of sale device to ensure the authenticity of the card. Every time the card transaction is used, the chip creates a unique transaction code. Even if the chip information was stolen from the point of sale mechanism, the stolen card transaction number isn’t reusable. Although the U.S. is bringing this technology on board, it has lagged behind in this area from Europe.

    I also saw on the news this week (Fox 5?) a segment on another scam (device) that hackers are using to pick up passcodes by reading (with an ultraviolet type light device) the numbers chosen on a pin pad based on the heat generated from the finger imprints, which can detect pin numbers input into the pin pad. The way to counteract this as stated on the report, is to hold your entire hand on the pin pad and by essentially putting your imprint on every key; it makes it hard for the perpetrators to detect the actual pin code.

    I think as technology advances, hackers will find ways to breach the system but at the same time, companies need to be savvy at fraudulent attempts and spend time and resources to ramp up efforts to stay vigilant. With regard to the recent Apple iCloud issue, in a move by Reddit posted in a just released article on, Reddit has closed the door to the page “the fappening” where the naked photos of celebs had been posted “on the grounds that the images had been obtained illegally” and further went on to state that some of the images had been taken when the celebrities were minors, under 18, considered to be illegal.
    Although they initially attempted to keep the page open, the action to actually shut it down came a week after the breach was announced (due to the thought of rights of speech). These are the types of measures that need to be maintained post haste in order to help reduce privacy violation. Of course there is always the potentiality of another Edward Snowden but that is another story! (Based on one’s views of how he approached his concerns about the NSA’s widespread surveillance programs).

  3. I personally think that the only way people can still have privacy is by limiting and controlling the amount of private information they share about themselves. True, what we do with our phones should be our own business, but with all this information sharing systems out there, how can we be sure ours will be kept private? If you don’t want your information to be put out in the public, than don’t share it in the first place, because privacy doesn’t exist anymore, plain and simple. When it comes to financial information, people don’t have much control over that, unless banks and other financial institutions seriously decide to do something about their information system breach (i.e. Target scandal).

  4. Very good post about constant issue that users face with social media and technology. I do believe as our technology evolves that we will get to a point where we will develop more personal safeguards against hackers. Such as fingerprint.

  5. For quite a long time, privacy has always been an issue with the more and more repaid path of the technology development, it seems that the more advanced and convenient the applications we can use to such as share information or to pay money online or wireless, the more risks we may have. Besides this time the Cloud information disclosure, i remembered at the end of last year, the customer information hacked at Target, which would both make customers worry more about the safety about their private information and also may lose confidence and trust for those companies and doubt their secure ways about what and how exactly the did to protect the customer information. Before developing a more sophisticated application or devices, they should always take the privacy at the top level priority.

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