EHS students weigh in on the top ten data privacy breaches of the 21st century

May 18, 2018

Sony CD Spyware (2005). In the fall of 2015, Sony was accused of sending user information, such as their music and the IP address of their device, to themselves whenever someone played a CD on their laptop or PC.

Student Response: “I believe that it is a big issue because, without your consent, they should not be able to gather that information,” sophomore Zoe Lelas said.


Google Street View (2007). In 2007, Google got into trouble for invasion of privacy by allowing other people to see people leaving strip clubs, bookstores containing adult books, and engaging with prostitutes.

Student Response: “I know people would say that it would an invasion of privacy, but since it’s more of a criminal act, some would say, I think that people should be aware of it,” junior Maria Crudden said.


Hotmail Breach (2009). In 2009, Hotmail was in hot water when it encouraged its users to change their account passwords after having 10,000 users’ private information stolen and posted online.

Student Response: “I would definitely report it, I would definitely not be happy. Not just for my own privacy safety, but also for the safety of everyone else whose privacy has been breached. I think it’s a very serious thing when data breaches occur. Not just to one person, but everyone else around them as well,” sophomore John Santrizos said.


Webcamgate (2010). In 2010, a school was sued for using the webcams on the school supplied laptops as a way to monitor students’ usage of the devices. However, these webcams also took many pictures of students in their private bedrooms while changing clothing.

Student Response: “I would be very upset because I feel like the school has the power obviously over us and was not using it for good. If you have power, you can use it for good or bad, and they took it too far,” junior Erika Jank said.


HealthNet privacy breach (2011). In 2011, HealthNet was sued because nearly two million of its users’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, health information, and financial data were exposed.

Student Response: “That’s not good and I would not trust the internet and have all the accounts open. I would be insecure about how much I would be on the internet. They should definitely be held accountable because that’s a lot of people’s personal information,” senior Savanna Atol said.


iPhone problem (2011). Steve Jobs openly apologized to the public in 2011 for a file in iPhones that stored all of the places its user visited within the last twelve months.

Student Response: “Well, I really value privacy, and so when it’s violated I feel like I’m violated. It really depends on the person but I’d say it’s the person first, it’s the customer. Therefore, privacy comes first when it comes to business,” sophomore William Davis said.


Sony Playstation (2011). In the spring of 2011, Sony announced that more than two million of PlayStation users’  names, addresses, email addresses, birthdates, and possibly even their credit card information was stolen.

Student Response: “Playing games is just something you want to do to relax and have fun. But using that against your own privacy, that’s terrible and huge breach against your life,” junior Likhitha Kancherla said.


Voicemail Hacking (2011). After “News of the World,” a publication for the News Corps’ weekly U.K., was found to have hacked the voicemails of countless politicians, celebrities, and crime victims for tabloid information, it was forced to stop writing articles and shut down.

Student Response: “I would not be happy because that’s a huge invasion of privacy and definitely not okay. They should not be able to do that.” Sophomore Arianna Paulson said.


NSA Snowden (2013). In June 2013, the Guardian reported that the NSA had been tapping into the servers of nine huge internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Facebook. They later revealed their informant was Edward Snowden, a former CIA analyst.

Student Response: “I would be very disappointed and sad because they shouldn’t be able to take my information and it’s just not fair. I should have some privacy, even on the internet,” junior Stefan Gullickson said.


Cambridge Analytica (2018).In 2016, Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, was hired by Trump’s presidential campaign to provide information on potential voters. However, earlier this year the New York Times detailed how Cambridge Analytica accessed the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users. They used this information to provide the Trump campaign knowledge about the personalities of the electorate and ways to influence their votes.

Student Response: “That’s not right. The invasion of privacy doesn’t seem very fair. They shouldn’t be going into users’ personal data just for an election. I don’t think that’s morally right. That also just changes everything because they can just campaign towards specific people,” junior Anders Freeland said.

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