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It is definitely no secret that our privacy as a society has never been more at risk than it is now as a result of living in a digital world. Not only do we have to worry about criminals stealing our personal and banking details but now we also have to worry about large corporations like banks and insurance companies. What makes matters worse is that a great deal of personal privacy is given up by us easily and willingly.
Privacy is a right that belongs to each and every individual. Privacy can be defined as the ability of an individual to seclude themselves and express themselves selectively. But most of us don’t understand how what we post is used, how it is tracked, collected and used for various functions.
Have you ever googled a product and then immediately been bombarded with ads of the product or the same brand this a perfect example how the internet watches our every move. Every email you send, every product you have bought online, everything you have posted and everywhere you go is all being saved and archived. Search engines use this data to provide advertisers with a more receptive audience.
People view social media as a non-profit public service a way to share and receive information with friends. What we don’t know is that Social media companies generate their profits through targeted advertising. The more we post the more information the company can collect which will result in better targeting and more revenue.
Take the recent Facebook data scandal which involved the breach of privacy of more than 50 million Facebook users that were then used to target ads in the 2016 presidential election. This was done by selling users personal information to a political consulting firm which used the data to create ads that manipulate users to vote for a particular candidate. The social media giant is not the only offender other social networks have been doing this, Facebook was the first company to be caught. Many companies get away with this because their privacy policies are forever changing and we never bother to read through the hundreds of papers they send us and if we do ever get a chance to we unable to understand what is being said since we are not lawyers.
One the biggest dangers is something that we carry around every day and use freely not paying attention to. I am talking about our credit cards, the ATM’s cards magnetic strip contains a great deal of data and is easily hackable.
Although we are constantly warned to tread carefully on the internet and to not provide personal information after getting an email that we have won 50 Million euros in a lottery in England that we have never entered many of us are prepared to willingly give up our personal details that will be used from anything to identity theft to hacking your bank account.
However the future is looking better since governments are now putting more pressure on companies to amend their murky privacy policies and agencies are now reading through the terms and conditions which nearly all internet users disregard completely. Companies are being urged to be completely transparent to provide user with a sense of security and understanding of how our data is stored and used. Despite these positive changes to lookout for it will definitely be a long time before we can truly say that our privacy is safe on the internet.
We have to understand that protection of privacy and security in the digital age is a matter of long distance trust in the companies and website that we use every day which is definitely not something we should be comfortable with yet we are. So what can we do to protect our privacy better online sadly there is not much that we can do. Living in this digital age is indeed a learning process with things changing all the time but what we can do to guarantee our security is to continue to ignore those emails from that Nigerian prince.
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