The lesser evil?

Experts have emphasized again and again that the trade off between the data you give out and the services you receive might not be worth it. Companies always defend themselves with the argument of doing the necessary tasks to be better for the customers that they serve.

The truth of the matter is that most of these institutions go unregulated with the data that they collect and how they utilize it.

Information technology companies have invented programs that track your data and transmit it to certain big data companies and or data brokers even after you uninstall that program, these are called active caches, and to remove them from your system ( mobile or desktop ) can be a significant challenge.

Popular video conferencing app Zoom was found to send personal user data to Facebook without adequate consent from its active customers (Source — Beebom)

A striking example of the same is when security researches found out that Zoom, yes the service we are using for our online classes right this moment is sending data to Facebook, even if the user does not have a Facebook account. The company’s privacy policy is so vague that researches still cannot pin point the exact nature of the data being sent. The issue was rectified for iOS ( iPhone, iPad and iPod ) users after a mass public outrage and subsequent legal action against the company. For Android users, MacOS and Windows users a fix is still “ in the works “.

Most of the world is either working or spending their recreational time on the internet because its the go-to place for most of us to consume our daily dose of entertainment. What we don't know is that there are programs and bots that are constantly monitoring our activity, down to individual clicks.

In a survey conducted my McAfee’s Online Privacy and Security division, 33% of the people admitted that they do not know the risks well enough to understand the dangers associated with predatory data harvesting.

Google has a database of most individuals that uses its mapping service ( about 155 million monthly users as of April 2018 ) of exact times they arrived at their home, left their home, moved around in their home and so much more. They justify this by implying that through user movements they can better understand the areas topography and improve the service for other users. How that is done is never explained.

There was an instance in 2012 when executives at Uber were able to predict where specific users were staying the night at locations other then their homes. They defended themselves by saying that they cannot see those user’s personal information but no legal action was taken.

In March of 2014 Microsoft admitted to viewing their employees personal Hotmail accounts after they suspected someone was leaking information, or when Google had to fire an engineer for spying on at least four minors in 2010, or when a pharmacist was able to access Walgreen’s prescription database and show her husband private medical information about someone they knew.

There are many such incidents that have been reported and many that have not been reported, which raise pertinent questions about how strict regulation is needed to be implemented to prevent companies/individuals from misusing our personal data for their monetary, personal or professional gain.

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