Privacy is a complicated thing, and our view on privacy has been tainted by companies that rely on our lack of desire for privacy.
We all know what privacy is, and I’m sure you’ve heard many times before how much online privacy matters. This blog post isn’t here to convince you to start to care about privacy. This is just to help you realise that privacy is something that you already care about and rely on but don’t realise the extent to which it is exploited online.
This blog is only part of a series and will continue to be updated. Privacy is vital, which has become even more evident with the recent data breaches.
When I speak with others about online privacy, and why it’s not much of a concern to them, these are some of the responses I receive.
I have nothing to hide.
Have you ever said anything to a friend that might be offensive if it’s taken out of context? Or shared something with your doctor that you’d rather not have everyone know about? Do you lock your front door, or have a password on your phone or email account?
If we truly have nothing to hide, then by all means send all of your login details for all of your accounts to my email address [email protected] and I’ll read through all of your texts, emails and post all that I find online for your friends, family, neighbours, bosses etc. to see. After all, if there’s nothing to hide, then this wouldn’t matter, right?
In reality, all of us have certain things we’d rather not share with the entire world. This is why privacy is important.
Privacy and Secrets are not the same. While you might want to keep your secrets private (kind of core to it being a secret), some things require privacy. For example, when you go to your room to get changed, it’s clear that you’re getting changed, that’s not a secret, but typically you’d want some form of privacy with this. It’s probably safe to assume that (as fully grown adults) we wouldn’t want to get completely changed infront of our grandparents… right?
They already know everything anyway.
This, being one of the most common arguments for why not to bother about privacy, is wrong. An important view to have when it comes to companies having your data is perspective; if you stopped sharing everything online today, then in 10 years, their data on you is much less relevant. Even if 90% of your life has been shared on social media up to this point, it doesn’t mean that the rest of your life needs to be shared.
Just because you’ve always eaten sugar, that doesn’t mean you always have to eat sugar. Similarly with online privacy; just because you’ve always posted everything online, it doesn’t mean that you need to continue to.
All in all, online privacy is comparable to “see it to believe it”, in that if we can’t directly see the consequences of it, we don’t fully comprehend the extent of it. If someone was physically standing there watching us all the time, then we would (most likely) feel quite uncomfortable about that, but when it comes to online, most of us are ok with people watching everything we do there; because we can’t physically see them watching us.
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Below is a recording of a TED Talk by Glenn Greenwalk titled “Why Privacy Matters”. This is a phenomenal talk that looks into why privacy matters. I’d highly recommend watching this video to learn more about why privacy matters, and how it’s something we already all take into consideration; but just forget about when it comes to being online.