Why should we care about our privacy?

Privacy in general terms is the right to be left alone or freedom from interference or intrusion. In terms of the internet, privacy is the right to have some control over how your personal information is collected and used.

More technical innovation gives way to more efficient and advanced technologies. In recent years the information has become the most important component to cultivate this innovation. As many new people are coming on the internet and the amount of information being shared is increased manifold. Every organization or individual is entering the realm of the digital world and data is the entity of this world. Data is also very essential to understand a user or a customer or a client but sometimes there is no limit to the amount of data that an internet corporation is willing to extract. Somewhere there has to be a line that needs to be drawn. In recent years there have been many issues regarding the privacy policy of many tech corporations. Facebook has been in controversy much time. Recently Whatsapp’s privacy policy also raised many questions, then in an ironic move Whatsapp raised the question of privacy by suing the government regarding the new Information technology rules. But this is just the tip of the iceberg and numerous other aspects get overlooked. First, we will need to understand what this privacy means for us as individuals. Only then we can clearly determine the relevance of these rapidly changing developments in this subject.  

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

-Edward Snowden

It’s not that privacy means that there is something to hide; rather privacy is having things you don’t want to show. For instance, people would not like to post their Bank account online or Bank statements. People would also not like to have a public camera inside their homes. Similarly, there are some things that an individual would not like to share online. Privacy can provide secrecy, but there is more to it. Privacy also provides autonomy and therefore freedom to an individual. Well, there is even more to privacy than the freedom that many people do not realize which is that when we think we’re being watched, we make behavior choices that we believe other people want us to make.  Humans intrinsically like to avoid societal condemnation and perception of whether or not we are in private changes the way we behave. This indicates the benefit that a state can have with surveillance and can lead to a conformist population.

As it is stated by many that data is the oil and for many tech organizations it truly is. We can witness this with the various technological corporations that rely upon user data including Facebook, Google, Amazon etc. But Even Smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi have realized the lucrative benefits of collecting and selling user data. For these companies, our data is money and they earn billions of dollars with this data. Both the private tech giants have clauses in their privacy policy that allows government agencies and third parties to access the data. The data that gets uploaded on the internet never gets deleted and stays there forever. What we have to realize is that even if the information seems futile today, it may have an importance tomorrow. In conclusion, privacy is not a trivial issue and people will have to understand its importance until it’s too late.