A lot of us have Facebook messages, text messages, and emails that we hope will never see the light of day. Not that these messages are incriminating, but if they got out, it wouldn’t reflect well on our public reputations.
It’s completely natural to slip up from time to time and say (or write) things that we wish we could take back. Often we communicate things under the false assumption that we’re not being watched. We assume that we have digital privacy, and we take for granted that our most private thoughts and things we share with close friends will never be revealed.
However, with the current state of online privacy, our right to privacy is being threatened, and some might even speculate that this right has already dissolved before our very eyes.
Below we illuminate our current security vulnerabilities and what recent news leaks and reports suggest about the future of online privacy.
Are We Being Monitored?
In short, yes.
The Snowden leak back in 2013 revealed classified documentation that the NSA was essentially spying on US citizens. This global surveillance network gave the NSA unprecedented access to digital data. All of this is done under the guise of “protecting the people”, but when has this protection gone too far?
Mass surveillance is supposedly done in order to stop the war on terror, reduce drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. Laws such as the one that forbids the US to spy on their citizens tend to get in the way of preventing the above crimes. But how much of our right to privacy are we willing to sacrifice?
As the world goes increasingly digital and more information is shared online, we truly have to stop and think about our rights that are being trampled upon.
Beyond government monitoring and surveillance we also have social networks and other internet services that collect every bit of data they can. From our browsing history to our email addresses, to the buttons we click on, how we move the mouse, and navigate the web. Virtually everything we do on our devices is being monitored, stored, and used in one way or another.
If you’re using a free service, then your information is being sold. You have successfully become the product. How else do you think that the ads you see across the web are personalized to you, or your Google search results tend to be exactly what you’re looking for?
The personalized web makes things easier for us, but for the sake of easier web browsing we’re sacrificing our freedom, and giving the okay that it’s fine to record every single we do.
What About Mobile?
Other people operate under the assumption that mobile must be safe, or at least a safer alternative. However, these devices pose the same risk as browsing the web on our desktops.
The recent FBI/Apple case brings the ideas surrounding mobile data protection to the forefront. Essentially, the FBI wants Apple to build a backdoor into their devices to allow easy access for government monitoring. Of course, the case is more complex than that, but you get the basic idea.
However, we’re inclined to believe that the objection of Apple to the FBI’s request was more of a PR move than anything. In fact, the FBI was recently able to parse data from a suspect’s phone without authorized access. This leads us to believe the backdoor is already in place, or that government agencies have already found ways around the security protocols.
Today, complete privacy is more of a pipe dream. Perfect privacy no longer exists.
Why is This Dangerous?
Most people don’t care about online privacy. If they’re not doing anything wrong, then who cares. However, mass surveillance and the feeling that you’re being spied on can have a few dangerous consequences.
Knowing that we’re being watched can kill innovation. It effectively diminishes the ability for cutting edge ideas that might disrupt the status quo to be discussed. Unless of course, you unplug, leave your devices at home, and have a conversation in the middle of the woods. But, who has time for that?
We’re afforded certain rights as citizens. But, these rights and freedoms are being abused. By not caring we’re essentially giving away our rights and setting a scary precedent for the future.
Once our online privacy rights are compromised, it leaves the door wide open for our freedoms to be taken away as well. It’s a dangerous slope and one that we don’t want to walk down as a nation.
Way back in 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an article that highlights just how easy it is to construct a detailed profile of a person based upon readily available personal information across the internet. It’s a fascinating read, but it’s also frightening in that it was written six years ago! In technology years, that’s a very very long time.
We can speculate that the level of tracking and monitoring since then has only grown and become more sophisticated. Even simple things like building an Amazon wish list, answering questions in internet forums, and scouring Google for answers to our personal problems can come back to bite us.
Imagine someone you’ve never met, or even seen in your life, knows almost everything about you and your family. How does that make you feel? They know that you’re suffering from depression, about the embarrassing rash you have on your back, how you’re estranged from your parents and other secrets that you’ve kept close to home.
With the sheer amount of data available about you online it’s easy for people (and companies) to compile all this data together to build a very accurate profile of who you are as a person. The deeper we look into privacy issues, the easier it is to see how pressing the problem has become.
If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to communicate with friends, loved ones, or colleagues, without the threat of big brother, give Just10 a try today.