Privacy is dead. Right? Well, we hope not.
Let’s take a few steps back to understand why your data is worth fighting for and protecting.
Knowing you’re being watched changes everything you do
You don’t want people watching you dancing wildly in your living room. Nor having your mom read your text messages. Sure, it’s not illegal … but would you do it if you knew someone was watching you? Would you text the same words? Probably not. Being private is different from being secret. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing “wrong” things, even though you’d prefer to hide them from public eyes. Keeping your privacy allow you to BE freely, and to be who you are.
In fancy words, this is called the normalising effect of surveillance. If you’re constantly being watched, or think you’re constantly being watched, you’re losing your ability to be free.
“No one must be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation.”- Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Your data has value
“Consumers are often unaware of the transaction that takes place when they sign their information away” — Rainey Reitman, Activism Director at the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Your data is being tracked, your pictures are stored for free… why would it be, if it wasn’t worth something? There’s a commonly accepted that we’re accepting the trade between privacy and conveniency. But the truth is, we’re often authorizing these transactions without being completely aware of it.
Free services often imply that your data is worth money to those companies or the ones they do business with (like being sold to advertising companies).
“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”
Protecting your data keeps power on your side.
You don’t know what the future holds
A piece of information is defined by its context. You may know who’s in charge of your data as of today, but what about it in 2, 15, 30 years? Political changes, company’s change of boards … we can’t predict the future so we can’t know for sure where all this data will go and what it will be used for.
Also, a piece of information in the wrong hand is dangerous, and you can’t be 100% sure it is securely stored. Doubt it? See the Chronology of Data Breaches going back to 2005: https://www.privacyrights.org/data-breaches. Your data is vulnerable to breaches, theft, whether you like it or not.
Protecting your data is not just about having something to hide or not. It’s a must do.