The right to privacy is a basic right and naturally we should expect that our online behaviors would remain as private as we hope our diaries would be. Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag and that is never going to be possible. Whatever we do online needs to be recognized now as public.
First you have to define privacy. Most websites (including mine) will track generic information. What link do you use to get to the site, what browser you use, where your ISP (GPS if enabled) is located, what pages you visit, what time, etc. And sites of course leave "cookies" on your computer that can be read and used by sites for advertising purposes. Also part of defining privacy is "where" is this information being stored and who "sees" it. I'm not a paranoid person and have no problems with cookies being stored on my computer or my search history temporarily stored remotely as long as it contains no personal information that can "attach" it to me as a person.
There should be no expectation of privacy for anyone who: visits illegal sites; visits and posts in a public/private forum; purchases goods online; uses a company computer/email address; visit sites that you have provided personal information; etc.
Should any/all of our activity (by one or multiple entities; across multiple platforms) be logged, indexed, stored and "attached" to us? No. Should anyone have the same right to our personal email accounts? No. Not without proper and lawful governmental/judicial action.
Also users need to understand they are responsible for some aspects of their privacy. Just by logging in to this site with my Facebook account and posting this response I have negated any expectation of my views being private and that view being logged, indexed, and attached to an online "identity". The same goes for: purchases I made today online and offline; websites I've visited that I signed up for and provided personal information; and the company email account I used.
Yes, I believe that we should expect our online activities to remain private. As the internet has grown, from something that wasn't widely used to a necessary and important tool in everyday life, the rules and regulations have changed as well. At one point in time, internet use was so little that the government did not even realize how dangerous it could be in the wrong person's hands. Unfortunately, many people took advantage of this fact which led to illegal copyright violations, rampant theft of bank accounts, credit card fraud, and terrorism. Though these problems could be used as a reason why internet use should be monitored, to spy on a person's internet use should be and is protected by our Constitutional rights. There are many things that give justification for governmental abuse, such as torturing a suspect of a crime in order to get information out of them. However, this would be illegal and abusive for obvious reasons, and spying on internet usage should be look at in the same way, as a terrible violation to our right to privacy.
Yes, we should expect our online activities to remain private. As long as we are legal and not harming anyone, our online activities should be private and not tracked by either stores or the government. Sites that are known to be illegal or contain child pornography should be monitored and anyone utilizing those sites should immediately forfeit their right to privacy.
No, I do not think we should expect our online activities to remain private. The use of the internet is a privilege and although we have the right to privacy we also have the right to not use the internet. Computers and the web were created for good purposes and should only be executed in that way. However there are too many people that take advantage of how dangerous the internet can really be and it should be monitored. If you are not doing anything you shouldn't be on a computer, there is no reason that you should have a problem with it being seen. If people understood that their internet use was being monitored, they would be more careful about abiding by the rules and laws on the web.
I think that many people want their online activities to be private, yet they seem to have no second thoughts about providing public information. With social networking sites like Facebook, many people choose to leave their accounts open for view to strangers. They post pictures that they would not want their employer to see and say things that they wouldn't voice to someone's face. So long as people behave this way, how can they expect to keep private lives?
There are a few different levels to this question. First of all if you put something out there in public on the internet then of course it's not going to be private. However if you send someone a private message or an email you might expect it to be private and it in fact should be but in reality is not because the email companies have been bullied by the government to violate your 4th Amendment rights
It is highly unlikely that governments across the world will be able to resist using our online activities and information as a way to monitor and control the way people live. In the U.S. we see the patriot act and a recent bill that was quietly rewritten to allow the government to access emails, facebook information, "electronic correspondence" or whatever else these government officials see fit to look at. Our privacy will be completely forfeit as we rely more and more on the internet to conduct our business and social interaction.