questions to think about why your privacy matters

  • Are you empowered to shape your identity and make informed choices or is this identity shaping being done for you?
  • Are you able to access all different kinds of information freely and easily to make an informed decision or are your choices being filtered for you?
  • Are you free to educate yourself in whatever way you choose?
  • Are you free to take on any position? and not just free today, but potentially free tomorrow? If you’re being watched, the implication is that some forms of thought are acceptable and some are not. Who decides this? Are we, as a society, as a culture and community of thinkers deciding this or is some non neutral, biased entity deciding for you? What if you decide at some point in your life that dissent is necessary, or what if you decide you no longer want to dissent, are you free to act on this? or have you become penned in by how the internet never forgets? A quote for you to mull over: “Your freedom of expression is threatened by the surveillance of your internet usage – thought patterns and intentions can be extrapolated from your website visits (rightly or wrongly), and the knowledge that you are being surveilled can make you less likely to research a particular topic. You lose that perspective, and your thought can be pushed in one direction as a result. Similarly, when the things you write online, or communicate privately to others, are surveilled, and you self-censor as a result, the rest of us lose your perspective, and the development of further ideas is stifled. More, your freedom of association is threatened by the surveillance of your communications online and by phone, and your freedom of assembly is threatened by the tracking of your location by your mobile phone.”
  • What’s the value of privacy? Of having a space, physical as well as virtual, that’s all your own? Of having the ability to think and develop and grow without being watched?
  • Should companies be able to make money off your free labor? Your data is worth real, tangible money to the companies that offer you free services and the companies they do business with, even if they’re not asking you to open your wallet. Another quote to mull over: “While the government has to provide some measure of transparency, private entities are largely exempt from the Privacy Act of 1974, and once they collect your information, there’s no way to tell what happens to it after that. Some companies reserve the right to sell the information, and while most explicitly promise not to in their privacy policies, they give themselves the out of being able to ‘share’ information with their ‘strategic partners,’ which is the same thing, just without a cash transaction taking place.”

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