Why You Should Care About Data Privacy

Our top provider ExpressVPN just shared a spine-tingling article with us about how we are being manipulated into freely sharing our data with the government and big corporations. The government most especially is using the old saying that people who wish to hide their information do so only because they have something bad that they want to hide. The government therefore should know what that is because it is probably illegal. The truth is, however, that we like or privacy even when we are not doing anything that the government needs to know about.

Digital Snooping the Norm

We have learned at least one solid thing from the revelations of Edward Snowden, and that is that governments everywhere are constantly sifting through our digital lives. These searches are being conducted around the clock and without any permission or supervision. If this were to happen on the physical plane, there would be such a huge ruckus that no one executing such searches would be left standing. It is hugely unacceptable behavior yet it is happening all the time because we all cannot see as clearly what is happening in the digital sphere.

Sadly, many ordinary netizens have been worn down by the seemingly endless outflow of news items about illicit surveillance and the illegal tapping of our communications. As a whole, we have grown tired of listening to how every aspect of our digital activities is being monitored in some way or another. The initial effect of the revelations has worn off, and we are growing complacent. And this was probably part of the government’s plan all along. If they could weather the initial storm, then they could go back to their old scheme, telling people that they are working in the interest of national security. But they are not protecting us when they try to manipulate us into giving up our privacy rights.

When we are upset about the spying, the government tells us that they are protecting us from the evil terrorists (even though there is no real proof that spying on you, your cousin’s dog and your 80-year-old neighbor, has helped at all.) When we take steps to secure our privacy rights, the government questions why we are employing the tools of criminals to hide our activities (even if these tools are really made for regular Joes who need protection from criminals – and government spies.) Is fielding all of this worth the effort and cost? Many are beginning to think that it’s not worth it, that it is just additional stress and the government has been doing it for years anyway. This attitude is easy to adapt if we turn a blind eye and choose to remain ignorant of the real consequences of losing control over our data privacy.

Are You Hiding Something?

The right to privacy does to apply only to those who have something to hide. It applies to everyone, and everyone is free to use it or give it up. Anyone who hides illegal activities and is caught will of course be subject to prosecution and probably harsher penalties than someone who admits their mistake. But this does not mean that someone suspected of a crime must bare all to be considered innocent. And so anyone who is not even a suspect should never be expected to give up their privacy just to prove that they remain innocent. It is a despicable tactic to goad anyone into giving up their rights just to make sure that they do not seem guilty. The government is making innocent people look dirty when they apply this approach.

Aside from being made to look and probably feel dirty as well, the government is trying to make people feel guilty. They say that they need to spy on us to protect the people who would otherwise become the victims of attacks. So we supposed to voluntarily acknowledge that the chance that a single person’s life is in danger is more valuable than all our privacy combined, and that there is no other way to save that person. If we don’t give up our privacy, we look selfish and heartless. But the truth is that it’s the government’s job to secure both lives and basic rights. They are just too lazy to do their jobs properly. For corporations, ignoring data privacy brings in the big bucks. Information is power, and they are applying the same sorry tactics to get their hands on our very valuable data.

It’s Free Because We Care

Companies use an additional method of persuading people to give up their rights – free stuff. These companies offer free services and soon even free Internet to undeveloped nations so that they can collect even more data on a monthly basis that they have been able to collect in a year within first world countries, especially now that many who live there are so privacy-conscious. There are billions of netizens to tap in the most populated countries of Asia and Africa, giving them tons of data sources that can easily make up for what they are spending to bring free Internet and even free education to these locations. And they are looking so good in the process, like heroes instead of the cold-blooded capitalists that they really are.

With this image, it is easy to believe that these companies really care. And governments who promise protection look trustworthy as well. But do they really care about protecting our data? For the most part, there are very minimal protections in place that secure the data that is taken from us. These systems are there to satisfy initial audits and are otherwise not updated nor checked on. Ultimately, they don’t care because they can get away with not caring. Banks secure our deposits and hotels maintain discretion because they will get sued and lose credibility and clients if they don’t. Free services and the government are not afraid of this. They just manipulate people to get what they want and what happens next is not their concern.

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