As I try and educate myself and learn more about keeping my personal information private I feel I am fighting an uphill battle.
Firstly I am pretty computer illiterate. I can surf, use emails and MS office, watch videos and now post my blog due to free ware, but that is about it. As my web site states I want to learn more about IT and how my hardware works thus trying to learn Linux and the command terminal . I understand some of the principles about tracking and how web sites work but all I have learned so far is that I don’t know squat.
Secondly not knowing how things work via controlling hardware or software for that matter makes me realize that for me it will be almost impossible to completely protect my privacy. As well as the fact that the more you use a computer or the internet the more you are susceptible to giving up your privacy regardless of what you try to do. At least for me or the average user.
Finally protecting my privacy is a lot of work, and if I really think about it am I willing to make that sacrifice? It means a lot of research, a lot of education and finally a lot of time. If I spend more half my time looking into protecting my privacy online rather than using it for my general knowledge or amusement, isn’t that defeating the purpose of what I really want. Information fast.
As with any debate there are two sides. On the one I realize that the information I provide is being used to develop data sets or meta data, and that in turn helps the internet provide choices that would most appeal to me, thus making my information search more efficient and practical. On the other I feel that the information gathered is used to control me or lead me subconsciously to make certain choices I might not make otherwise. (Am I the only one or when you search or look for something you always get sidetracked; your search and topic becomes larger eventually making you divert your original intentions/attentions to something else?) It makes me think of the casinos where they arrange a total environment to make you want to stay. Today the internet is all about selling shit to you. Constantly.
If you are an IT professional or a programmer, you know how this works (within the coding; ie. popups, java, etc.) so you can set your systems up to avoid a lot of this, but on the other hand if you don’t let some of these scripts or commands load up, certain functions of the site or application will be limited. Case in point , I am still using free Word Press at this time which this in turn limits the exposure my blog would get by being unable to use some of the promotional tools.
As I learn more and more about my privacy and in general the way the internet works I do tend to believe it is too late and I am not IT literate enough to be able to keep pace and really know what or where my information is going ,how it is used and by whom? I would tend to think that most of my entourage has even less knowledge about these issues than I do, and that is scary. Most people I cross do not really seem to concern themselves with this. (I have nothing to hide theory). I get it, but that still does not mean it is right or not important to every person who uses the internet.
I have an Iphone, and just read an Reddit post about the I Phone 11 that says even if you turn all your location settings to off on the applications certain applications will continue to track your location.
The more I learn about our privacy the more I realize that there is no way out when you want to use someone else’s software and even hardware now. It is a person’s responsibility nowadays which is fine, but it is so complicated now that the average person such as me has no idea how it works and what steps I need to take.
For example I use the TOR browser or Firefox, but if I do not customize the settings (or know which ones to customize) I do not get a certain level of privacy. So as a lay person I have to figure which scripts must be blocked or applications or tracking stopped. If I don’t know how to do this then I may still be susceptible to giving away some of my private information. So as I stated earlier it is a lot of work to keep up with the industry (technology) to protect yourself.
I love the internet, what it provides (the answers, solutions, a lot of information about anything!) and think it is one of the greatest inventions of man and a tool that has the power to democratize the world over. It is the first time in history that anyone with a computer can express themselves and put out information to anyone else. (Good or bad) So the benefits so far have been innumerable to state them all, but there has been a cost. The cost has been our privacy and our ability to protect that privacy, which is another basic tenet of democracy. So at the one time IT has benefited us as humans more than we will ever know, and at the same time taken away one of our most basic human rights to a certain level of privacy more than we will ever know.
So in the end how do I feel about this? Concerned and vigilant. As citizens of democracies we must always be concerned and vigilant. We are the guardians of this democracy and it is our responsibility to ensure its continuation, and that is what I am hopefully doing?