Why your privacy is important.

In the world we live in today, we're absolutely surrounded by technology. There's nowhere you can go to escape it. It's at your school, job, home, and even in your pocket at all times. We depend on it for an uncountable amount of things and for the most part, the technological advancements of the last few decades have the fastest and most important developments there's been in our society. However, that doesn't mean it's been 100% positive. The devices we own commonly play an insanely intimate role in our lives and get to directly see what we're thinking and how we feel. However unlike a diary that would keep your secrets, technology has the scary potential of blurting it back out, and that usually means to Google, Facebook, or simply whoever has enough money to pay for it. It's this reality that many people don't believe, or just don't care about. The vast majority are simply too blinded by the convenience that technology brings to see that it can be used as a trojan horse to spy into their personal lives.

Why would you be tracked in the first place? Well it's exremely profitable, to the point Google and Facebook are almost completely reliant on it. In fact Facebook's $86 billion revenue in 2020 was 97% made up from advertising, and Google's $181 billion revenue in 2020 was 80% made up from advertising. Them continuing to earn this much not only incentivizes them to get better at tracking and profiling users to show more personalized ads, but also incentivizes them to keep their users addicted to their products as well. The effects of long term social media and technology use is already a well-known topic in itself, so even if you don't mind them violating your privacy with their intrusive advertising efforts, at least use the fact they prey on millions of users to become addicted as a reason you're against it.

When discussing privacy, many argue that it doesn't concern them because they have nothing to hide. This way of thinking is heavily flawed because it's pushing some weird idea that only people doing something wrong have something to hide, even though every person keep locks on their doors, curtains over their windows, and have secrets like everyone else. Everyone already understand that privacy is essentially a need, but for some reason not everyone think it's needed online. So what needs to be figured out is why doesn't everyone hold the privacy of their digital lives as high as their physical ones? As an example, nobody would agree to letting a stranger follow them around to keep track of every word they say and every place they go, yet many people allow their phones to do it without issue. People seriously need a reality check to see the freedom they're signing away when they allow services to be so intertwined in their life.

So a ton of information is collected, but what's really so bad about it? Well being less private might actually result in having to spend more money. Many retailers will give customers higher prices after taking a look at their digital footprint and estimating the highest price they'd pay. This often happens when buying a plane ticket, and is the reason you and your friend might get different prices for the same flight. Another reason why being less private isn't so great is that it's not just advertisers able to buy people's data, it's open to be bought by anyone, for example predatory loan companies, law enforcement agencies, or even anyone with a much darker malicious intent.

So even for the people who don't care about their online privacy and think it's bunch of baloney, it remains incredibly important to at least make sure online privacy is guaranteed to the ones who want it, since it's an absolutely important part to many people's lives. True Internet privacy allows people to openly search and contribute things to the Internet without having to worry about it being tied to them for the rest of their life. It's with this freedom that people are more comfortable with expressing themselves and don't ever have to feel limited by others. On top of that, true Internet privacy doesn't just benefit average people, there are also individuals and journalists living under restrictive governments who absolutely need Internet privacy or else they'd they'd be arrested or even killed. In some places it's not allowed to do things such as communicate with the rest of the world, give critiques of their government, or contribute real and uncensored news. Shutting down Internet privacy would be shutting down people's freedom of speech.

Regardless of how often you use the Internet, your privacy online is something that's violated more and more as time goes on. These giant corporations aren't limited in any way, and are basically encouraged to continue their practices since nobody seems to care about it. So spreading information about why our privacy is important and why people should care is really the only way that'll come close to making a difference.