Writing Task 2:
More people put their personal information online (address, telephone number…) for everyday activities such as socializing on social networks or banking purposes.
Do you think it is a positive or negative development?
Sample Answer 1:
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly common for people to provide their personal details online. Although this practice might facilitate a better user experience, I believe the trend is negative as people will likely be vulnerable to cyber-crimes.
On the one hand, updating personal information online facilitates a superior experience for online shoppers. By associating personal details with exclusive accounts, consumers can make more convenient online purchases. This is clearly exemplified when people shop on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon or Facebook. Because their identity information has already been synchronized with their sign-in accounts during an initial by the first registration, customers can skip the time-consuming data entry and transfer immediately to the final step of making a transaction. Thus, the buying process is expedited, fostering an overall convenient customer experience.
On the other hand, posting personal data on the Internet makes users potentially susceptible to criminal activities. The private information shared online including one’s names, addresses or social security numbers can be exploited for illicit purposes such as financial fraud. For instance, a hacker known as “Hieu PC’ in Vietnam ran one of the Internet’s most profitable and popular services for selling stolen identity records. He utilized his social engineering degree to exploit a wealth of vulnerable consumer data, stealing thousands a sheer volume of social security numbers and reselling them on an anonymous broker’s online platform. This led to a large number of retired workers in the United States losing million-dollar pensions to a sophisticated online hacking scheme.
In conclusion, in spite of some relatively minor conveniences, registering personal details online is a negative development considering the risk of online fraud. In my opinion, governments should establish additional privacy regulations for online shopping firms so as to mitigate security risks and better secure personal identity information.
Sample Answer 2:
It has become common for people to put their personal data online for communicational and financial purposes. In my opinion, the benefits offered by this trend could hardly justify the potential drawbacks.
Admittedly, the trend in question presents certain benefits, chiefly in terms of businesses and services. First, from a consumer’s standpoint, having their personal information registered on social networking and digital banking platforms allows an increased exposure to various service offerings. This is because advanced data technologies enable consumers’ needs to be quickly identified based on their personal input. Thus, a list of potentially suitable service providers can be derived therefrom. Second, from a business’ perspective, a database of consumers’ information may help businesses gain insight into the market situation and make better decisions for their operations. For example, banks often analyse trends in consumer shopping behaviour, thereby devising more targeted marketing schemes which can yield higher sales rates.
However, users may very well find themselves in serious predicaments from putting personal information online. The consequences that may arise from a breach of cyber security can be catastrophic. As has often been the case on social networking sites, unaware users can fall prey to hackers by clicking on links that compromise their security settings. As such, users’ personal data may be extracted and used against their will, for blackmail, property fraud or misinformation. Moreover, there are chances that greedy businesses will commoditize users’ data and sell them to other corporations and industries for a profit. With their personal information in the wrong hands, users may have their needs, tastes and thoughts manipulated by dubious organizations.
In conclusion, despite its conveniences, the practice of putting personal information online proves to be more of a negative trend. The problems resulting from this practice can be more complicated and far-reaching than expected, especially in today’s digital age.