The proliferation of Internet-connected digital technologies and their adoption worldwide have enabled the collection, storage, analysis, and sharing of vast quantities of personal data. Internet search habits, browsing history, and location data (from IP address and location-based apps and services, check-ins and location tagging on websites, social media platforms, and apps) of individuals are recorded, as well as their personal information due to the requirement to fill in online forms for various purposes (e.g., work, education, the receipt of governmental services, such as retirement benefits, etc.), or register for apps, websites and other online platforms and the availability of websites that consolidate users' information. Individuals' personal images, and video and audio recordings may also exist online or on apps that have been uploaded by users, friends, family members, acquaintances, classmates, colleagues, employers, organizations, government agencies, the media, and even strangers. The aggregation of this data, among other data, which creates "extremely large data sets that can be analysed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions," is known as big data (Maras and Wandt, 2018; Maras and Wandt, 2019).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term used to describe an interconnected and interoperable network of Internet-enabled devices that facilitate the monitoring of objects, people, animals, and plants, and the vast gathering, storing, examination, and dissemination of data about them (Maras, 2015). The IoT adds to the amount of data about individuals collected, stored, analysed, shared, and otherwise made available. IoT devices range from wearables (watches, clothing accessories) that collect information about physical activity, sleep and health data (e.g., heartrate), to home appliances, furniture, products, and personal objects (e.g., refrigerators, ovens, washers, dryers, TVs, vacuums, beds, weighing scales, alarm systems, security systems, lighting, etc.) that track and collect information on the use of the items in homes recording data on user's preferences, habits, and routines, to smart cities (interconnected cities) that track the location, movement, routines, habits, and other activities of individuals within these cities (Maras and Wandt 2018; Maras and Wandt, 2019). Because this data can reveal so much about users, it needs to be protected. These protections are needed not only to protect individuals' privacy, but also to minimize vulnerabilities to cybercrime.
In what follows, this Module covers privacy as a human right, the impact of cybercrime on privacy, the relationship between privacy and security, data protection legislation, data breach notification laws, and the enforcement of data privacy legislation: