The internet has revolutionized the way we live our everyday lives. Most of us live half our lives on the internet. From DMs to emails to research to entertainment, the internet offers us literally everything we need. Even if it doesn’t, it definitely makes things much easier.
However, people don’t realize what they are giving up in return for the convenience the internet offers. The widespread use of social media has all but ensured that your personal information is out there for anyone to find and use with a quick online search.
Deleting Doesn’t Mean It’s Gone
One simple proof that the internet has redefined data privacy is how nothing is ever really deleted online. Online data archiving services can easily make deleted data, including now-unavailable websites and platforms, still available to individual users or corporations. This makes it incredibly hard to scrub the internet clean of any unflattering photos, embarrassing tweets, or inappropriate likes.
People who started using the internet at a young age eventually learn the pitfalls of careless posting. Old social media posts can hurt people’s relationships and careers. One doesn’t have to look far for proof — many celebrities are getting called out and “cancelled” for racially charged posts or politically incorrect views shared online.
This should serve as a reminder to always be mindful of what we post.
Tailoring Ads to Individual Preferences
This is probably one of the best-known things about data privacy and using the internet. We’ve all experienced googling a certain product and finding ads of the exact same product we were searching for after a few searches. That is what tailored ads are.
Search engines keep track of what you search for and, since they also handle your ads, they try to make sure they show ads relevant to your interests and that you are more likely to engage with. Many corporations also use tailored ads and search analytics for market studies.
People usually start to seriously consider the impact of their internet activity and its implications on their data privacy after encountering extremely targeted ads. While many may appreciate more personalized ads, there are also those uncomfortable with online data tracking and question its ethics.
Taking Data Monitoring Up a Notch
Online activity tracking has also sparked concerns and conspiracy theories on how governments monitor its constituents (and non-constituents) at every possible turn.
Although people should not entertain these ideas to a ridiculous extent, it’s an important reminder of how thoroughly we should evaluate how we give consent to different platforms and websites in handling our information. Whether or not a government entity is constantly watching you and the conspiracies are true, it’s still valuable to know that we need to employ extra levels of privacy when handling sensitive information.
Regardless of how seriously you take your internet activity and data privacy, there are many things to consider when it comes to allowing certain websites, agencies, or institutions access to our information. Mindful usage of social media and the internet offers a semblance of comfort and privacy in the digital age.