Back in the days, people’s privacy was entirely kept in the memories of humans. Privacy could only be compromised only when an acquaintance decided to spill the beans about a person. Gossips and rumors were the only threat to privacy. Nowadays on contrary, as people are more engaged with the digital world than humans, people have to deal with new forms of privacy threats.
We live in the digital era, surrounded by digital devices. Life is absolutely unimaginable without our internet-connected technological gadgets and platforms. On the bright side, these digital devices make our lives easier and livelier. On the dark side, our privacy could be in jeopardy at any moment of our lives.
The Essence of Digital Privacy
Digital privacy is the protection of information of digital media users. The concept is all about providing a safeguard for personal information, login passwords and access pins, peer-to-peer communications, geolocation, and the financial status of people who make use of any type of digital media.
Every software and website provides us with terms and conditions before we sign up for their services. The majority of us are not interested in reading the written statements of condition. We just jump to clicking the confirmation box to simply affirm our consent to their conditions and terms. We don’t really pay attention to the fact that we are granting the digital platform owners our permission to register and process our information.
Most commonly, the terms and conditions of signing up to a certain digital medium provide details about how the platform will collect, use and process the information we provide them with. It also contains details of terms on how to withdraw our consent from the platforms and to stop further processing of our information.
Be that as it may, every digital activity leaves a digital footprint that can be traced back to its original user. Deleting digital information doesn’t mean removing it permanently. Deleting just means removing digital content from the availability of the general public. Rather, each and every one of our digital lives is aggregated and stored on the servers of digital platform owners for further marketing purposes. Every aspect of our digital activities is kept in a digital dossier in which our habits and preferences are being analyzed. At the end of the day, the information will be sold to advertisements and affiliate marketing companies.
The Right to Privacy & Data Protection
Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation”. The right to have protected privacy is a human right. In this digital era where people are forced to keep engaging with digital platforms, people have the right to exist freely in digital media. While doing so, they have the right to privacy and the right to information.
When using any digital media, individuals should have the right to decide on how their digital information is collected and used. They should also be able to freely grant consent to the manner in which their information is processed, as well as receive notifications regarding the information they submitted. Furthermore, people should be able to share information digitally with the confidence that their communications will be safe. Only those who take part in communications should only have access. In case of any sort of illegal breach, obtained information should be prohibited from being used in any situation.
The Debate on Data Privacy
Digital platform owners, by monitoring digital activities and aggregating the information about their users, sell the information to advertising and affiliate partners. Moreover, governmental institutions all over the globe conduct surveillance on citizens in the name of national security. Financial institutions make their own investigations of the financial status of their clients before they allow them loans and other financial opportunities.
Because of all these, many fear that their privacy is invaded. The 21st-century humans have an affinity for their privacy in many aspects of their lives. Yet, they are not in a position to keep their privacy hidden. The digital world already consumed every aspect of human lives and people are already involved a lot. Many social activists have been warning the regular community that they are being watched and to be more mindful of whatever they are signing up for on digital media.
Mindful Digital Media Use
It’s entirely impossible to stay away from all our Netflix shows, social media, smartphones, smartwatches, computers, play stations, and many more. But it is wise to be mindful of our digital activities. We won’t have the power once information finds its way onto the internet but we are in control of what we are going to share.
Before sharing information on any digital media, we should make sure the consequences of the content are not going to put our lives in harm’s way. Being mindful of what we are signing up for is really crucial rather than blindly skipping the long and boring terms and conditions of these digital platforms. After all, you know what they say, privacy is power. But I’d say, privacy is freedom.
Photo: one photo/shutterstock
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