Is Internet Privacy Dead?
The Age of Information we are in means that the power lies with the group controlling the most information. Information availability is higher than it’s ever been. The problem though is that much of the information would have been private, just within the last 20 years. Now companies like Facebook collect information about us nearly constantly.
Internet privacy may be harder to come by, but privacy tools like VPNs are growing in popularity.
Tech Companies Know A Lot!
- Who You Are
- Where You Go
- Who You Know
- What You Buy
- What You Look At Online
- Your Emails
- Your Phone Calls and Text Messages
- Your Files
- Your Voice Commands
Virtually every aspect of your digital life is being recorded. It’s tucked safely away in databases where it can sit quietly for years or decades, until it’s needed, or hacked, or even just accidentally leaked. We can’t know when, why or by whom. But there is massive amounts of data available to collect (legally or illegally).
Privacy is not dead. There are many ways to keep your information more private on the internet. There are many products out there like Search Encrypt, which don’t rely on tracking your information.
Is Internet Privacy an Oxymoron?
Privacy on the internet isn’t impossible, but it just requires a little bit of extra effort. Privacy tools are growing in popularity although they have yet to become mainstream. People are quite loyal to the search engine and social media sites they use. Unfortunately many of the most popular websites have the biggest privacy issues. There are plenty of private alternatives that anyone can use.
Why Does Internet Privacy Matter?
Without privacy, we give tons of power to people and companies who can collect and use our data. These companies aren’t obligated to act in ways that align with societal ethics or your personal ethics.
- Privacy Offers Protection for Vulnerable Populations
- Privacy Encourage Free Speech & Freedom of the Press
- Privacy Allows more Objective News & Information to Flow Freely
- Privacy Empowers Users
Will Desire for Internet Privacy Go Away?
As long as people are exposed to tracking and the resulting effects, some people will be uncomfortable. These people that will always be interested in protecting their privacy. There are costs associated with handing over your data to companies on the internet. They can use your behavioral data to determine that you’re willing to pay more for a product.
What Are The Best Ways to Stay Private Online?
Search Encrypt recommends taking these steps to protect your information on the internet.
- Use a private search engine – Most private search engines don’t collect or store your data. This means they can’t use your data profile to target ads or alter your search results.
- Use a VPN – Virtual private networks divert your internet connection to another location so you aren’t easily identifiable to the websites you visit.
- Use a better browser – Your internet browser is the link between the sites you visit and your computer. Using a browser with lousy privacy features, opens your computer up to threats.
- Use private extensions – Extensions like ad blockers or script blockers can prevent malicious tracking on websites you visit.
- Choose private alternative services – Rather than using big services from websites that track you, choose websites that clearly state that they do not track you, and do not store your private information.
Why Are People Opposed to Internet Tracking?
Tracking can be used in a good way. If technologies like AI can apply the data that companies collect, then many processes can become more efficient. Automation couldn’t happen at its current scale without the data collection that the companies behind it rely on. However, where this becomes an issue is when people’s information gets used against them. For example, if Amazon can determine that someone is willing to pay more for a product, they can charge them more. An insurance company could not approve someone for a policy because they data indicates that they are a higher risk.
Without all the complex data about people, companies wouldn’t be able to use it against them. This is why privacy is a very user-focused and user-friendly feature.
What Protects Internet Privacy in the United States?
The United States doesn’t have strong regulations for protecting people’s privacy online. The Constitution doesn’t declare a right to privacy. However, Supreme Court decisions over the years have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right, and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment. These rulings don’t directly apply to privacy on the internet, though.
For now, most websites are left to self-regulate when it comes to privacy. If a company suffers a data breach, its consumers will lose trust or go elsewhere. It’s in the best interest of the companies to keep people’s data private, but they don’t always do this.