Privacy is the glue that holds society together
More than ever our emails are being monitored by messaging providers. You may have noticed that messaging services are getting incredibly good at suggesting responses to emails/messages. In the race for creating a human level artificial intelligence, or at least the world’s best chatbot, we often see that providers are constantly training their autofill messaging options by reading our conversations.
Some of the highest grossing IT companies are frequently needing professionals/contractors to fly in and educate staff on how to properly manage user data, often for simple processes like removing user IDs from datasets before interpreting the information. Just because companies say they are providing secure services for their users it doesn’t mean they are. Just because a messaging provider is worth billions of dollars, it doesn’t mean information is safe from hackers, employees and under the table business deals that go on between companies.
We don’t have to give these companies or hackers any more power and feel as though leeches are draining our life force by spying on us. We have more control over our intimate thoughts and feelings – there are safety measures we can take to increase our privacy. Maybe it is unfair that we live in a world where sophisticated safety practices need to be implemented – even for the average person. The technological age has come at a price, and almost all the messaging software we use are free services, so these companies need lucrative, inconsiderate models to pay for servers that support potentially billions of users. If a service is free, then it is likely that the users are the revenue producing engine.
Privacy is a fundamental human right that keeps people safe. Privacy is vital for safety. Being tracked poses a threat to people as it makes it easier for individuals to be located at any given moment. A lack of privacy makes it very difficult for an individual to hide from threats.
There are parts of the world where sharing a political or religious belief online results in persecution, or sometimes a loss of state supplied benefits. Many people in the west could eventually be living in a system where we are judged for our preferences and personality (personality traits have been known to predict political beliefs). It might not affect our freedom on the surface, but when applying for jobs it might. The corporations that aim to maintain power want to know what populations are thinking and feeling.
We live in an age where companies with strong political views have the potential to swing elections. Many companies that we have/had come to trust are filled with political opinions and yearn to exert their ideologies on to the rest of the world. During the voting stage of an issue that ended up being divided by a small percentage, a social media giant ran a ‘subliminal’ flash image within the webpage instructing people to vote in a certain way.
Amazon was found holding on to the records of 450 million Facebook users. People are waking up and understand that privacy is greatly threatened by many of the services we use daily. In a recent study only 2% of Facebook users felt that they trusted how their data is managed. It was found that thousands of Facebook employees had access to all user passwords that were stored without any means of encryption.
We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder
The chances of corporations the size of Facebook being able to protect data is slim, they are still in the business of selling data to advertisers. Not long after the Cambridge Analytica scandal the account/data deletion process period changed and was extended to 30 days after previously only requiring 7 days to delete.
Many websites are designed to be addictive and the best interests of its users are not the main concern, a responsibility to investors becomes the focus – this is where the company loses control and profits are placed beyond ethics.
Yahoo had 3 billion email accounts compromised in 2014, likely the world’s biggest hack in terms of number of people affected.
Are you backing up your data? Someone is backing up your data, but it’s not youAnonymous
What happens if Google is properly hacked? Google stores a lot more personal information than the average Yahoo mail account – more useful data for malicious individuals. If Google was hacked tomorrow and every email you ever sent was given to bad people all around the world that aim to extort people on a large magnitude through email. “We have your pictures/passwords/voice samples/anything sensitive, send x amount of a currency to this address to prevent your data from being sold and leaked to your contacts list”.
Would you pay the money? What is the cost of an event like this?
Perhaps the simple, and healthy response is … “I don’t care” …no response…
The Jeff Bezos defense…
Not everyone can emotionally accept the present days lack of privacy, many of our emotions are dictated by primitive biology. Somewhere in many of our minds, an insecurity/anxiety exists from the feeling of being watched. Our behavior dramatically changes when we think we are being watched, the potential for being spied on in any given situation greatly increases as our smartphones can function as wonderful spying devices. If we constantly feel we are being watched and behave accordingly out of fear, we are oppressed.
An individual’s sense of freedom and wellbeing is jeopardized if they don’t feel safe expressing themselves in their own homes. For many of us there is a sense of ill ease whenever we feel that we might have overshared, especially when its online. It is dispiriting to know that these companies know our thoughts and where we are at almost any given time. We don’t know when the next emergency will come up and out of respect or for whatever reason we want the conversation to be confidential?
“We all have secrets and we should keep them”
John McAfee, Founder of McAfee anti-virus software, former NASA employee and presidential candidate made some brilliant statements on the importance of privacy. “I do not think people understand what privacy is, people think that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, that’s utter honest nonsense, look at how you choose privacy every single day, when you buy something from the store, do you tell you the checkout clerk the intimate details of your life”…..”you might tell your friends more and maybe your spouse everything – unless you are sleeping with her sister” he then goes on to say that ”If everyone knew everything about everyone else we would have chaos in the streets, starting with spouses shooting each other” and “privacy is the glue that holds society together”. Secrets exist to maintain peace and avoid chaos.
The same way we allocate importance to health insurance, taking the time to educate oneself around properly managing cybersecurity can prevent future risks. Perhaps, the event of malice is unlikely. Peace of mind is still something that is precious and ultimately affects our happiness across other areas of our life.
As time passes our data becomes less and less valuable to companies. You don’t have to feel foolish for using social medias and messages to the point where it backfires, even Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world could have saved himself at least a mild dose of public shaming if he had taken his privacy more seriously. Once online safety precautions are in place, then you no longer need to worry or feel burdened by the default lack of privacy that has made its way into our lives.
EPRIVO provides you not only with encryption but also with device authentication. It ensures your content remains confidential everywhere. Even if your device is compromised, the EPRIVO authentication can shield you from malicious access. Each of your emails can also use unique access controls such that you can use to retain control of your content even after sending.
Privacy isn’t just about protecting ourselves; we should feel responsible to our friends and family who perhaps foolishly divulge too much information to us when we are in fact being watched.
If you don’t protect your personal privacy, who will?Anonymous
Download EPRIVO Encrypted Private Email App for free. EPRIVO works with your existing email address, and allows you to privatize old emails from any email account.