Data Privacy in 2019 – Protecting Yourself Online

Protecting your privacy online is different now than 10 years ago. Previously, all you had to worry was just to make sure nobody knows your password. But nowadays, big corporations are being hacked every day. Even Yahoo, Facebook and Google get hack! Here comes a time to think more about your data.

Using services offered by Google or Facebook is free, but free does come at a high price. It is not really free if you look at the big picture. You are the product, according to these big giants. Your data is valuable to these monopoly companies. Every post you share, every like you click, every share you made, is recorded and evaluated by artificial intelligence. Then, these data are processed and sold to advertisers to promote their products. Trading free service for your limited 24 hour a day attention span, which is way more valuable.

Advertising in this age is vastly different from advertising 10 or more years ago. Previously, ads are not targeted, and you still maintain your privacy. You are not tracked 24/7. Now, with artificial intelligence, everything you do is recorded and processed. Believe it or not, Google and Facebook know you more than you know yourself.

They track your recent web searches, your recent purchases, heck, even offline purchases. Recently, there were articles claiming Google had partnered with Mastercard to track retail spending. It means that, whatever you buy offline, is linked to your online Google account. Google knows everything about you, your email, your address, your telephone, your passwords, your banking details and even your credit card details. And did you said you use free service provided by them? It’s a costly mistake.

If you are using an Android phone, just like the majority of the world are, Google spy on everyone of us. Track our locations, where we live, how long we stay at a place, where our frequently visit places and more. Use cloud services? They can analyze your images in Google Photos. Artificial intelligence is a real thing. Computers are able to analyze whether an image is a person smiling, or frowning, whether it’s an image of a cat, or a dog, or an iconic building. Artificial intelligence is growing fast. And it’s really scary if you do not learn and educate yourself.

Soon, computers will know you more than you know yourself. Wait, it’s no longer in the future. Even now, computers really do know you more than you do!

Luckily, there are ways that you can equip yourself to reduce the dominance of these giants to gather your data, privacy and information.

For example, you can choose to use Mozilla Firefox or Brave browser instead of Google Chrome. But only changing your browser is only one part of the story. Google can still track you from your web searches. It’s time people realize how valuable their privacy is and switch to using DuckDuckGo to browse the web instead of using Google.

Of course you will not be able to completely avoid using Google or Facebook. Most people still use Google Gmail for their email. There are other alternatives such as ProtonMail. But it sure is a hassle to change your email that you have been using for ages. Sticking to using Gmail is still okay, just try to limit giving away your valuable personal data and life to these corporations for free.  Well, same goes to YouTube, as they are the monopoly, there really isn’t much choice really.

Isn’t is a scary experience, to browse the web for some clothing, and suddenly opening Facebook to see the exact same advertisement that you have been browsing. Your every move is tracked. It’s creepy. It’s as though someone is stalking you behind your back, and taking pictures of you and recording and documenting your every move.

You might think that, your data is irrelevant. You are worthless. Are you? Collectively, these data gathered by these big companies are used to manipulate and put thoughts into your mind. They have the ability to manipulate how you think, what you feel. They can change election results by favoring news by a certain political party and censoring another political party. They show you more shares and news from your friends about a certain influential person, to promote and change election results. Yes, it happened, thanks to Cambridge Analytica.

It’s time to take charge of your life, your privacy. Scary world we living ain’t it?

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