Fairness and Equality in Internet Privacy issues

Nowadays, every user is required to agree to the privacy policy provided by the platformwhen they first download and start using the software. It has become a common phenomenon that users can’t use the software if they can’t check and agree to the policy. This is equivalent to the passive position that users have to agree to the long, complicated, and almost loophole-free terms because of the needs of the software, although some of the terms may seem unfair. But they didn’t choose to reject any of them.

However, after signing such terms, the user’s personal information will be read by the software platform, including gender, birthday, age, account number, email address, geographical location, etc. However, whether this term is effectively implemented by the platform and whether the user’s personal information will be effectively protected is not transparent and users cannot know. Until users suddenly realize at some point that their privacy is supposed to have been compromised.

Avoid before the leak

For example, in China, online shopping has become very popular and efficient. Most Chinese people have an online shopping experience, and there are various online shopping platforms. Users will encounter a series of privacy problems when they shop online, and the process from online shopping to receiving the parcel is very privacy exposed: when they buy products online, they need to fill in the name, address, and telephone number of the consignee. After the seller hands the goods to the express company, the address of the consignee will be exposed again until the parcel is transferred step by step and delivered to the consignee. News has repeatedly revealed that temporary couriers employed by some Chinese express delivery companies secretly take photos of delivery sheets and sell customers’ personal information for profits. Although the police arrested the suspect after receiving the tip-off, and the Courier company quickly searched the company to find the source of the leak, and even took some technical measures, whether the Courier company learned a lesson and optimized its internal efforts to protect the privacy rights of consumers or just a public relations ploy to quell users’ anger. But similar privacy leaks still emerge one after another. Think of someone who gets a call one day and the voice on the phone easily states his name, address, date of birth, and even the name of his workplace and the name of his parents. However, this is not an isolated case. Many netizens said that they frequently received similar phone calls and text messages in a certain period, and there was also a lot of discussion about the topic on China’s mainstream social media platforms such as Douban, Zhihu, and XiaoHongshu. The consensus was that personal privacy must have been leaked, but where exactly was it leaked? What caused the leak is unknown. However, at present, in China, the punishment for such crimes as information scalping is light and the cost of crime is low. Some experts suggest that the sentencing standards should be increased according to the circumstances of the crime and the severity of punishment should be increased. In addition, consumers have an increasingly high awareness of privacy and will erase personal information on the express bill after getting the express delivery, and the regulatory system is not timely enough to effectively prevent such incidents from happening frequently. What is timely and effective is that the regulatory department finds the problem before consumers find it, so that consumers’ privacy is not leaked and their rights and interests are protected, rather than having to solve the problem.

Celebrities are not immune to privacy problems

If the platform fails to protect users’ privacy rights in a timely and effective manner, people’s trust in the platform will decline significantly. Guarantee is not only what the platform needs to do, but also the responsibility and obligation of relevant departments. You can imagine what happens when people’s privacy is collected. Everything that everyone can know and doesn’t want to know is at risk of being revealed, of being blackmailed — because it’s not just the gender of their birth date, it’s browsing history, it’s chatting history, it’s even their privacy preferences, and their are unimaginable technologies that can read that privacy data, Many netizens feel helpless at having their privacy exposed, but at the same time laugh at themselves for already running naked on the Internet. A leak of intimate photos of Korean idol Jennie’s BTS members led to the revelation of their relationship, followed by the release of intimate photos of Jennie in the bathroom. The entertainment exposure makes the fans of the two stars start to defend their idol’s reputation. In addition, netizens regard this kind of news as a pastime to kill the boring time, but few people realize that the privacy of the two stars has been violated and they have been treated unfairly. In particular, the privacy invasion technology not only violates other people’s privacy but also becomes a tool to violate women and discredit women, which makes the problem more serious. Imagine how intrusive a picture of a girl lying in a bathtub can be to her, even if there is no private part of the picture. However, it is impossible to imagine that this photo leak, if not checked and investigated, will not leak more egregious photos or information. Celebrities’ privacy infringed will be made public, while the privacy issues of groups with less social discourse power, such as teenagers and students, are rarely actively mentioned, and they feel more helpless about personal information leakage.

Student privacy worth protecting

Around 2021, some netizens revealed on Weibo that the database information of the learning software Chaoxing Learning Tong was suspected to be sold publicly, among which the suspected leaked data included 172.73 million pieces of information including name, mobile phone number, gender, school, student number, email address, and other information, including 10.76 million passwords. In China, Super Star Learning Pass is a necessary learning software for every local college student. As soon as this news came out, many students left a message on Weibo claiming that their Super Star Learning Pass account had been stolen and other relevant information had been leaked. Perhaps some people are wondering, students’ information value is relatively small, stolen or leaked what can be sued? First of all, everyone’s privacy rights and interests need to be guaranteed, which is inviolable. No matter who he is, what profession, race, or social status, the legitimate rights and interests of students must be protected. The exposure and sale of their personal information will also have a certain impact on their physical and mental health. Secondly, information that is not important in the eyes of ordinary people may become the so-called hacker or network information thief’s eyes to seek profits. Although in response to this matter, Super Star Learning Com said that the online rumors are not true, because they do not store users’ passwords in plain text, but adopt single encryption storage, even the company’s internal personnel will not have the chance to steal user information, so theoretically there is no leakage. However, few people are convinced by the statement of Super Star Learning Pass. Professionals say that there are many ways and channels for password leakage. If the platform lacks corresponding protection measures, the risk of leakage is great. There are many logical loopholes in the statement issued by Super Star Learning Link, and it should be held accountable if it failed to fulfill its technical security obligations. In addition, many students who have used the software complained on Apple Store that Super Star Learning Pass collected too much student privacy and various unreasonable questions. As a learning software used by the vast majority of universities in China, Super Star Learning Pass has received so many low scores, which indeed indicates that it has many problems, not only privacy issues but also many aspects worth optimizing to meet the needs of students. However, as college students, it is inevitable to recommend using this software. It is obvious that students are in a passive state between them — although they know that the software has many problems and may have a bad experience after downloading, they have to do so for the needs of exams and study. There are a few questions: For example, the lack of the same type of competitors in the application market of Super Star Learning Com makes it not strong enough sense of competition, not perfect in the process of software development, not have the high initiative of iteration and upgrade, target users will take the initiative to download, without special means of publicity operation can ensure the activity and bring stable earnings. This will make the superstar learning Master a very arrogant attitude for a long time, which is likely to lead to the relationship between students and the superstar learning Master being in a disadvantageous position, which can not be respected and protected accordingly, even if the privacy information is stolen, can not be an effective and happy solution, and can not refuse to download and use this software. Based on this situation, relevant departments promoting this software should strengthen the supervision and examination of the software to ensure the interests of students.

Find the root of the problem from the platform side

After the Super Star Learning Link event, a large number of applications were exposed by other Weibo users because they failed to comply with the privacy agreement. Why are there so many incidents of platform user information leakage? Does the platform comply with the privacy policy? Perhaps most platforms do comply with privacy policies, but their safeguards are far from adequate, and there is a cost involved. The labor cost and time costs of maintaining the platform’s user database are very large, and the revenue is low. For the platform, this work may exceed the budget, and it is not a profitable business. However, the probability of privacy problems arising and causing public opinion is relatively small. From the perspective of the platform, it is better to complete some other work with a low budget and high income than to consume maintenance costs all the time. The daily maintenance of the platform only needs to protect the internal resources and secrets of the platform. The real users react to the problem and then the public relations appease and slowly investigate the problem. As a result, the user database of the platform has a certain vulnerability, allowing information thieves to steal information. Another reason is that hackers’ technology is very powerful. For example, in the public 2016 Pwn2Own hacker competition, China’s 360 Vulcan Team only took 11 seconds to break into the Google Chrome browser and successfully obtained the highest permission of the system. Faced with the hacker problem, the government or relevant organizations need to come forward to crack down on hacker behavior to protect the privacy and security of users, which may not only mine the privacy of ordinary users but also threaten the security of society or the country.

Social Security and border awareness

In addition, the scope of personal information requested from users by each platform should be accurately divided. For example, the tracking behavior of users on other websites or software, reading SD cards, monitoring mobile phone call status, device information, and other behaviors should be standardized. Platforms should not arbitrarily track users’ network whereabouts, and should not induce users to agree to more authorization of privacy reading.

It is not only the problem of privacy leakage but also the more trouble and opposition voice. Does the platform have a certain sense of boundary for users’ information requests and displays? For example, with open and progressive thinking, people are becoming more tolerant towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people, and started to respect them and try not to make them feel offended. The most direct example: some bathrooms will blur gender, not male or female, leaving some intermediate options; In addition, when registering on some websites, there will be other options for gender besides male and female. These actions maintain the sense of boundary between people and platforms, so that special groups will not be offended, and they have become relatively mature, and people take it for granted. Can platforms have more of a sense of boundary for ordinary users and become the consensus of all platforms and websites? For example, the user’s geographical location, gender, age, and other information are not actively displayed. Even if such information seems very ordinary, it will be very unfavorable to users’ activities on the platform. For example, if there is an argument on the platform, a simple argument may escalate to a regional conflict or even discrimination because the user’s region is displayed, or ridicule and insult based on age and gender, which is a violation of the user.


For a long time, people have been taught how to protect their privacy on the Internet, while few online platforms or institutions take the initiative to protect users’ privacy rights. New online privacy security protection measures should be introduced and formulated to achieve an equal relationship between platforms and users.


Li, W. (2013). Inside Express Number Scalping: About 30,000 Online Transactions of Express Number Every Day. Global Net. http://bit.ly/3Ge1z8x 

Sina Science.(2022). Media Six Ask “Learn to Pass Data Suspected Leak” : How to Be Stolen? What Is the Platform’s Responsibility. http://bit.ly/3zvwx8d

Brandon Devries[@Devires].(2022, October 9). BLACKPINK: Private Photos of Jennie Leak, Management Seeking Legal Action. [Twitter]. https://bit.ly/3K5QuYh 

Zuo Dao[@Zuo].(2020, November 23). What about Our Privacy in the Age of Big Data. [Zhi Hu].https://bit.ly/3MkxAQh 

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