Some of us can still remember the days before the internet. Privacy was mostly about not giving out your phone number and making sure you kept your front door locked (half kidding).
Now, almost every part of our lives is online. We communicate with friends and family using messaging apps, we keep our professional contacts online through linkedin, we share our personal lives through facebook, twitter and instagram. And don’t get me started with email. Talk about a dumpster fire. Thank god we have Google to help us make sense of all that junk that comes our way.
And as much as we don’t want to accept it, ALL of this is tracked. All of it.
We see glimpses of this when we are searching for products or services online. After some searching, we notice an ad from a site we just visited. This is called ad retargeting which is “…online advertising that is targeted to consumers based on their previous internet actions.” ¹
Then you hear about big tech companies like Yahoo that reportedly “secretly monitored emails on behalf of the US government“.
These days, you can’t talk about online privacy and not talk about Eric Snowden. The documentary Citizen Four by acclaimed director Laura Poitras is a must see when it comes to online privacy. It provides a great look into the extent of the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend you do.
Speaking of the NSA, they can’t seem to stay out of the news these days. I recently came across an article written by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) titled “Into The Abyss: The NSA’S Global Internet Surveillance“that explains in even more detail how vast the NSA surveillance reach is. The majority of the article is an engaging and easy to understand infographic that provides the main details of what the NSA has been up to with regards to email.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the internet has Great potential but, I feel that we are reaching a tipping point of something big in the next few years related to online privacy. Perhaps this uneasy feeling has something do with a certain someone trying to Make America Great Again?
Trump seems to be just the tyrant that Snowden expressed fear about in Citizen Four. Watch the video clip (around 35 seconds mark) in the tweet below from actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who happened to play Eric Snowden in the docu-drama Snowden (he played him very well by the way).
Sorry for the debby downer post but I just think things are gonna get worse before they get better.
Jokes aside, what do you think about online privacy? Cause for alarm, or should we just chill out?