Every time we go online our movement are tracked, data collected and collated and typically sold on to anonymous third parties. This can include personally identifiable information. Today, it’s normal, expected and the foundation for business models which generate huge profit. This has happened almost quietly, without much of an outcry, largely because big tech adopted a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach to their services forcing people to share considerable amounts of personal data as a condition for using their services. Enraptured by these shiny new digital toys, games and services, most of us have given up our rights to privacy almost unthinkingly.
But today internet privacy is becoming a growing concern for people of ages. At a 2018 Brussels privacy conference in 2018, of all people, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said: “We shouldn’t sugar coat the consequences [of data gathering]. This is surveillance and these stockpiles of data serve only to make rich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable.”
Around the same time, a Berlin regional court found that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that parts of the consent to data usage were actually legally invalid, raising questions about Facebook’s data gathering methods. Similarly the UK Competition and Markets Authority also said the UK government should consider tougher rules for online giants such as Google and Facebook over user privacy and competition concerns.
- Your data is big business for tech giants who make vast profits from it. Facebook recorded a $69.2 billion annual profit for 2020. Google managed to pull in $25 billion in profit in the first nine months of 2020 despite facing unprecedented regulatory press.
Data privacy is a fundamental human right. Everyone is entitled to personal privacy when you display, store, or provide information regarding yourself on the internet. This should include information that identifies you personally.
Why privacy matters
- When you browse the internet, ads stalk you wherever you go. These ads are based on your earlier web searches or visits to websites. They can follow you because websites, advertisers and so on track your movements.
- Cookie profiling and other techniques are used to track your overall activities online and create a detailed profile of your browsing habits. Some people may not mind having relevant ads being served up to them, and when you’re looking for something specific it can be helpful. However, it can also be deeply invasive.
- Internet companies, telcos, and other communication service providers are obliged by law to provide Internet connection records and browsing activities to government authorities for use in investigations, even if you’re not related to any investigation.
The power of encryption
- Imagine a world without privacy, where all your activities and personal information such as medical records, bank balances, credit card information and emails can be seen by anyone.
- Privacy matters because, without it, the Internet becomes a less safe place where all your online activities can be traced and tracked.
- The UK, along with Russia, China and Singapore, give their citizens the least protection in terms of online privacy and are the most intrusive.
Using BullGuard VPN
is one of the best and simplest ways to reclaim your privacy. Not only does it change your IP address so your real location is hidden it also protects your incoming and outgoing data with military-grade encryption.
- This encrypted online connection ensures that your online activities and personal information is protected and kept private from those who want to track you online and gather up your data.
The desire for privacy on the Internet is increasing as awareness grows about the hugely invasive practises that have become commonplace. Legislators are making noises, governments are raising questions and the growth in technologies that make your online presence anonymous are gathering pace. Privacy on the internet is your basic right and we all need to fight for it.