When I hear the word “Data protection,” I think of spies and security forces keeping an eye on dangerous people. Other kinds of surveillance include the government knowing where your gym is and companies keeping track of how much money you spend. Big players might make you feel helpless, unimportant, or all of the above.
At first, it may seem crazy to think that big, faceless companies care about your obsession with alpaca yarn from Etsy. Every day you go to work, sometimes you eat out, and you spend time with friends and family. Even so, I am nervous. When you talk about your life, they see dollar signs. By the age of 13, advertising technology companies have collected 72 million data points on the average American child. Facebook keeps track of 52,000 details about each user. They put your information into a profile that retailers can use to try to change what you buy. What comes next? They have a lot of money, but you only go to the gym three times a week. You can help in many ways.
You might not have anything to worry about if you have nothing to hide. The tech industry says that secrecy affects how much you can trust something. In 2009, Eric Schmidt, who was then the CEO of Google, said that if you don’t want people to know about something, you shouldn’t do it. This comment makes it sound like we have no right to data protection online. This is a problem even if it’s true in the real world (who wants their bathroom watched?).
Those with power benefit from not having privacy. People are very curious about the digital breadcrumb trail you leave behind. Companies can make a lot of money off of you by using this information in different ways. Like tailoring ads to you or selling them to other businesses and data brokers, who may then give your information to anyone willing to pay, including governments and law enforcement agencies. In the future, your smartwatch information has the potential to limit your access to health care, and your location is used to figure out how fast you drive. Which could cause your auto insurance rates to go up.
No matter how interesting or boring your life is, you leave a web of data behind you. Because our culture is global and sharing information is important, you might want to think twice before geotagging your Instagram photos or giving your contact list to any app that asks. Even if they don’t spend much time online or have taken other steps to protect their privacy. The people around you are part of your data web.
The push to share everything all the time changes what it means. Through emoji replies, likes, comments, reposts, and blocking, apps and services can get information about their users.
If you’ve never thought about your privacy, you might think it’s pointless to do so now, since governments and businesses have so many ways to find out about you. Many of us who were around in the early days of social media didn’t know what we were doing, so we have embarrassing email addresses and our college years are preserved in 60-photo Facebook albums made by people we haven’t thought about since 2009. Sharing your online activities with friends and family can quickly become an addiction. They have you. No. Anyone can get even at any time.
Get rid of your old Facebook photos: Since ten years ago, you’ve changed a lot. You like different things and spend money in different ways. If someone calls your old number, a stranger might answer. Tech giants don’t care about the list of people on your old Razr.
There are time limits on tweets, purchases, and uploads. You decide what you buy, where you go, what information you take in, and what podcasts, apps, and columns you read.
Companies and other unknown third parties with access to your personal information pose dangers that can’t be ignored. Everyone is hurt by data nihilism. Every day, we hear about a new app flaw or an open door, and we let platforms that spy on us without our knowledge. Even though we now know how dangerous data can be, the idea that your personal information could be used to track and control your every move is scary.
In a time when people have strong opinions about everything from computer viruses to the latest Marvel movie, data protection is a war in which everyone must take part. We need to be safe.
The “Opt Out” section gives you control over your personal information or data protection. If you are at a loss as to what steps to take, you have come to the correct place. Over the next few months, we’ll look into ways to keep your children’s information safe, even though many school apps and programs are data-hungry. We’ll also see if giving fake information can get you where you need to go without revealing your real identity. Together, I hope that each month your data is safer.