In our ever-changing world, we are constantly bombarded with contradicting information about the collection of our data and the status of our privacy. At times, it seems as though our lives are being dictated by how we are implementing technology in our lives. In an article from The New Yorker, Menand observes that our privacy seems very far beyond our control. He remarks that “we don’t really know who is seeing our data or how they’re using it.” Although we are aware of the decreasing control we have over our own privacy, the use of technology is so crucial to our lives that there seems to be no avoiding it. The fight to protect our data and preserve our privacy seems to be an endless battle, with no solution in sight. However, in order to protect our information, it is important that we begin holding our government and corporations accountable for the protection of the public’s data and information. Part of this action may involve encouraging our lawmakers to pass legislation that regulates the ability of companies to collect and sell our personal data.
According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, when asked about the extent to which people had heard about government surveillance, 59% of adults reported that they were confident that the governmnet was collecting our information from social media websites. Although we are all aware and confident that our data is being collected, we are severely underestimating the amount of our personal information is being gathered. Our location at any given moment, complete search and YouTube viewing history, and data on the applications we use are all pieces of information that are being collected by Google and other social networks. In addition to the collection of our information, it is also being used to profile us in order to tailor adds and services to us based on our habits on the internet. Since the majority of people have fallen victim to this invasion of privacy, there is a lot of media attention about this issue. However, there seems to be very little that we as general consumers can do to change this.
There are methods for us to protect our basic levels of privacy such as opting for private options on our accounts, covering our webcams, and sharing as little personal data s possible. Nonetheless, we will always face even larger threats to our privacy. At this point in time, the United States has no legal regulations on the buying and selling of personal data. An article from Time.com/Money also points out that there are no legal restrictions for the emerging practice of “surveillance capitalism”. Surveillance capitalism is an emerging business practice where corporations now rely on user data to increase their profits. Since our privacy is being handled at a level so far from our control, it is important that we call for legal action. By implementing limits on the extent to which companies can collect and sell our data, we can ensure our own safety and security.