A Non – Negotiable Protection

Data privacy expectations in 2021: Trends to watch | 2020-12-28 | Security  Magazine

Just a few days back, I decided to open a Facebook account. To my surprise the moment I created my account, it showed my personal information. Information that I had not even filled. To everyone reading this it might sound very scary. Being scared of such things especially when you hear them from people it becomes even more truthful and genuine. Today the topic that I am going to cover is something that has been a problem and issue for people all around the world. With this article, I hope to speak about the existence or non-existence of privacy in one’s life and the role of social media tech giants in it.

The word “Privacy” creates a mix of feelings. Gary Kovacs rightfully says, and quotes “Privacy is not an option. Therefore, it should not be the price we accept for just getting on the internet.” The reason I am stating this quote is that the world is slowly moving from the real to the virtual world at an uncontrollable pace. At the same time at a much faster rate, we tend to provide or give out all our information into the virtual world while also losing a sense of identity of oneself in the real world. It is a fact that, in the real world people do many things to protect their privacy and personal information but unconsciously tend to do very little about their privacy in the virtual world. The reason for this may be that people cannot see each other physically. This, therefore, brings in a sense of feeling in an individual that the person is not around me and hence they do not know things about me.

Does privacy exist or not?

I think that this question needs to be taken into consideration and find answers for it as we are moving constantly ahead in the field of technology every single day. When I question myself about the existence of privacy, there is only one answer that I get. Privacy does exist but not with the intensity that needs to be present in the 21st Century. Privacy is such an important thing in everyone’s life. People get to decide what information about themselves they want to put out to the world and what they do not want. Any other person regardless of what kind of money, power, influence, etc they have cannot decide this. In recent years, privacy is slowly losing its importance and value. Therefore, we must decide what kind of information we want to put in the virtual world.

Cyber crime seems to increase every day. Let me as you this, how many times have you or people around you have had an experience of your fake account being opened, which you have asked people to report and block? I am sure we can think of one or two instances in our head, which stand as proof of how our personal information is lost and later seen for the use of wrong things. This is just one of the incidents that I have brought out. There are many more incidents whose intensity of danger and trouble is at a much higher rate.  Through various ways, we give out our information that we would think twice before doing it. We would not tell everyone where we stay or where we are going to be all the time. Often we tend to let go of our location in the virtual world without even realizing it. Our privacy happens to be the invisible protective shield that will protect us from uncalled dangers. This shield cannot be negotiated for anything else whether it is the real world or the virtual world.

Social Media and The Power of Big Tech Companies | Shift - Living in the  Digital Age | DW | 15.01.2021

Role of Social Media Tech Giants concerning Privacy.

I think we all are aware of the recent incidents taking place in the social media world. We all remember the controversies of Whatsapp, Facebook, and other social media platforms regarding their privacy policy and the threat of information of common people. Talking about the incident in a few lines, these social media tech giants want to make our personal information more public to gain more productivity and revenue. We all remember Whatsapp putting out on different newspapers on the front page saying that their privacy policy is completely secure and nothing will go wrong. A lot of governments and the public itself were not okay with the new privacy policy that has questionable statements that had to be accepted by the people if they wanted to continue as members of the app. The reason many people agreed to the policy even though they were not okay with it was that a lot of people’s daily lives and activities whether they were students or people working had a lot of reliance and dependency on being an active member of Whatsapp. The most shocking part was that when that the US Senator asked the CEOs of these Social Media Tech giants about their work towards privacy and protection they did not have an answer to the question and rather kept revolving around how it is not that simple. These CEOs have been made to come to court several times to answer and provide an explanation in the lapses of their app but they just do not do enough to make things better for people and it is the people who face the consequences of these lapses.

Yes, I completely agree when people say that online or the virtual mode whether it is social media or any other apps that we use brings people together, increases production and economy,  continuous learning and communication, progress, development and so much more. However, what we tend to forget is that with advantages there are disadvantages that need to be looked into or else will result in grave loss of privacy. How many times have we heard on the news that Facebook, Instagram, or even food apps like Swiggy or Zomato have been hacked and information of different accounts has been accessed? It is high time we take such matters seriously and take some action towards them rather than leaving them as incidents that keeps happening every other day.

During the same time, we also had seen incidents regarding government-running apps such as the Aarogya Setu app in India. The justification provided by the different governments around the world was that the privacy of the people matters but the security of the people is also more important and the responsibility of the government. My question to this perspective is how privacy can and security is two different things? Only when the privacy rights of the people are taken into proper consideration only then will bring about the proper security of the people.

To conclude, the protection of privacy of every individual should come from themselves, the community, the governments, and the world. Only when we work together as a whole will be able to make the virtual world a safe place for every individual using it in any form. As Bruce Schneler rightly says, “Privacy is an inherent human right and, a requirement for maintaining the human condition. With dignity and with respect.”


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