Sometimes being a Tech worker I tend to do and know many things, that I consider very normal and obvious, but many people around don’t. Our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties and more may not understand simple security routines and the need for anonymity.
I didn’t realize that not only older generations underestimate the power of online info, but also newer generations. Sharing my thoughts with a friend around my age we got into a point where she was skeptical about the need to encrypt e-mails, use a safe search motor, use an anonymous browser and so on. This friend is quite techy herself, gaming, using 3D dev tools, however, she didn’t see the need for such things.
What I’ve been hearing most from people when talking about cybersecurity and anonymity is: “I have nothing to hide”. This is especially true when speaking about apps and software that track location, collect basic info, or ask for certain weird permissions before being installed. Also, talking about Google and how it makes a lot of profit from selling personalized adds based on personal e-mails and browser. Many of them tend to brush it off.
So why should we be concerned about this? Do we really have nothing to hide?
Recently The New York Times published an article about the tracking of American cellphones and its locations. For many users that was the first time that they really got face to face with the modern surveillance problem. A lot of people were shocked, but some already had an idea of how our data is being commercialized.
The data collected was sold to the journalists as “anonymous” data usually used to marketing and advertisement. A few days was all that it took for them to cross the dots and identify some of the people on the map. Exposing people’s daily life, legal and illegal activities, friends, habits and much more.
This is just a sample, imagine the places where women have no right to be at certain places at a certain hour? Or journalists fighting against barbaric regimes? Or even LGBTQIA+ people in countries that aren’t accommodative of them?
We take many things for granted due to being in a free country, where our rights are preserved. But have you stopped to think: what if the situation takes a twist?
That’s why we should support projects that allow us to be anonymous if we wish to do so. I’m not saying that you should frantically change Chrome for TorBrowser, and Google for DuckDuck Go. However, it’s important to understand that these tools have a good reason for existing and maybe, just maybe, we should think better about all those apps asking for location, info, pictures, friends and phone numbers.
How much is it worth to have privileges with certain apps integrated services against having the risk of having your browser historic, e-mails, location and etc. sold to someone?
There’s a need to raise this topic and ask questions, to promote awareness among people. A lot of users are feeding Big Databases every day, offering metadata all the time, and they don’t even know.
Do you still think that cybersecurity and anonymity have nothing to do with you?