Loss of Privacy: Whose Fault?

It’s your fault (mostly).

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It is time for us to acknowledge that privacy is a collective responsibility and that we, as users, play an integral role in protecting our privacy.

While technology companies have made it inconvenient for users to protect their privacy, it is an undeniable fact that the choice to do so is given. As creators of personal data, we voluntarily release information to a myriad of companies instead of protecting our privacy through browsing in privacy mode, and blocking pop-ups and advertisements. The media place a huge focus on how technology companies and governments have perpetuated privacy loss, and we are aghast by the legal tussle between Apple and FBI, and Edward Snowden’s information leak on America’s PRISM Programme.

Documentaries like Terms and Conditions May Apply have also shed light on how companies and governments are tapping into users’ personal information. The documentary highlights how users legally provide their personal information to advertisers by agreeing to browse a website or install a free application. It also explained how overtly lengthy, user-unfriendly privacy policies and terms of services of big corporations such as Google and Facebook deter people from reading them.

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Terms and conditions that we often agree to, laid out in interesting layman terms

 

Trailer of Terms and Conditions May Apply Documentary

While tech companies and governments are crucial in safeguarding privacy in the online sphere, users should also start to play a more active role. For one, instead of merely scrolling through privacy clauses and terms and conditions, we should actually read them carefully. A multitude of privacy tools can also be used, such as Tor (anonymous browser), Mitro (password manager) or even Eraser (file shredder designed to securely remove important data from one’s computer permanently because files that are in the trash bin are actually not permanently gone). Lastly, a regular clearance of cookies just before you exit your browsers is a good habit towards attaining better privacy for yourself. 

 

 

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