A person has a right to solitude and freedom from prying public eyes, in other words, to privacy. The definition of privacy in the Webster's Dictionary is defined as "isolation, seclusion, or freedom from unauthorized oversight or observation". In the essay " The Price of Admission: Harassment and Free Speech in the Wild Wild West", Stephanie Brail discusses how online harassment has become a media headliner in the last few years. There are many reasons to hide your real identity when you use the Internet. You might want to protect yourself against an oppressive government, or post personal messages to a Usenet newsgroup without identifying yourself to the whole world as the poster. Although everyone takes privacy in normal life for granted, trying to get the same level of privacy on the Internet (or even on your own computer) is a little less accepted, and sometimes a bit more complicated.
While the general attitude is hard to change, many ways exist to enhance your privacy online. For the most part, total privacy does not exist on the Internet. It is nearly impossible to erase all of your digital footprints. This does not warrant panicking, however. On-line shopping at reliable sites is perfectly safe, and risks to your personal privacy are minimal. However there are steps you can take to ensure that you have a certain level of anonymity when browsing the web.
Visit the other Privacy sections for software and information on anonymous e-mail web browsing, and file- security. Stephanie Brail was an "internet resident" since 1988 when she discovered the price of freedom when she became the focus of the first case of sexual harassment on the Net to attract national attention. She believes that online harassment is already killing free speech on the Internet. Brail discusses in her essay about internet harassment which has received a lot of press in the past few years. Women seem to be becoming increasingly subject to offensive, sometimes threatening behavior in the workplace, on campuses, and now, on the internet. She also discusses when harassment takes on a threatening tenor and the subject of the harassment is placed in fear, it may become actionable not only in civil courts, but criminal courts as well.
Various state and federal statutes regarding harassment and "stalking" have been enacted to attempt to deal with such unwelcome attention, and its harmful effects. As technology progresses, so have legal regulations and remedies. Seeing cyberspace as their "domain", some men apparently feel that female users must be ready to accept hostility as the price for online participation. This rationalization for open hostility and harassment toward women seems to be analogous to the experiences of women entering traditionally male-dominated professions and trades, particularly during the past three decades.