Why digital privacy matters, even if you as an individual doesn't feel so.

  • 31 March 2020

Digital privacy is a basic human right in 21st century. It is getting more and more important to understand and uplift it. Saying that you don't care about your digital privacy because you have nothing to hide is similar to saying you don't care about free speech as you have nothing to say that might offend someone and it is because of this ignorant behaviour of the majority that makes it so much easier for services and companies to sustain by exploiting their user's data morally wrongfully.

This blog post of mine is focused on trying to prove the importance of digital privacy in one's life in today's world and a little bit of rant as well.

People who prefer to use free services such as goggle drive or photos and a lot others, don't realise that the service is not genuinely free. Yes you are not paying in the old fashioned currency terms but you are giving them your personal data legally on which they are making tons of money. This is what hurts the most, people don't even realise how much data these services are harvesting from a single user and all that is legal for them because it is written in their terms and conditions which every user has accepted to. It's not directly understandable by a lay man, but it's all legit. This level of ignorance by today's users is one of the primary reason for more and more leaks of personal information and data breaches.

If you still feel that you don't care about digital privacy as it doesn't affect you directly bear with me for the following example. Suppose there is a person X. X never tries to harm you physically or do any harm in any way but you can see him always hanging around you 24x7. He is always in your vicinity taking notes of what you are doing, where you are going, with whom you are meeting, what you are talking about and lots more, just always there taking notes of every little detail. Whenever you receive a letter or a courier, Mr X opens it up reads all the content and then gives it to you saying that he did so, so that he can save your time by telling you what it is about and categorizing them for you automatically. Creepy isn't it? Now lets add a little more reality to it. Mr X is doing so only because at some point in a random conversation that you were not paying attention to, Mr X asked for your permission to surveil you and you agreed to his terms of him tracking you. Let's add another layer of reality. Mr X is not an individual but an entire company, a system whose sole purpose is to track people and get as much info about them as possible. How does Mr X or the entire company get the resources to perform such expensive mission or what motive does Mr X has in this process you ask? Well they combine and sell this information to potential buyers. Buyers who are in need to understand their customers by indirectly spying on them. To understand them better for their own needs. Buyers who will use this information to predict their customers to be able to sell them products or create needs accordingly. Buyers who are willing to manipulate people to even an emotional extent for their own personal good. The way now to get rid of Mr. X is to move to a new neighbourhood(service) and pay attention to what you are agreeing to.

It's not just the third party applications that are doing this, but even most of the governments out there are either getting their own hand's dirty in the process of surveillance by performing it themselves or by forcefully asking major tech companies to do it for them. This is where the open source, community driven applications and or services come to the rescue. These are the applications whose source code is available for the users to read and make sure there is nothing fishy going on in the background. Whereas a close source or proprietary codebase is one which is not publicly available. When such a proprietary service becomes a standard in a community to the extent that people are not even comfortable in exploring it's alternatives or when the alternatives are simple bought or shut down, it becomes a huge problem as then the service provider has the means to manipulate it's users in whatever way possible for example Facebook has been accused multiple times of being used to spread fake news and specific propaganda to very specific region based people which is weakening the society from it's root.

The real question to ask here is whether you are okay with going through such an high extent of survellience willing because if you continue to use these applications and services you are accepting to this. My motive here is to not ask you to stop using these services but to provide you with enough reasons and facts to get your brain to start thinking in this direction.

Found this intriguing? You should read more about the lives of following people for starters.

Want to take step towards digital privacy. I recommend the folliwing links.