… is the new norm.
OK, so privacy on the internet is more or less nonexistent. Nothing new there, and no
improvements to be expected. Too many permanent backdoors are already built into the channels
we are given to communicate through, and those in power evidently want more backdoors installed
for “improved security”.
What is a little disturbing in all this, is that so many web users willingly expose and compromise themselves by releasing sensitive data online day in and day out, as if they are totally ignorant about how insecure the internet really is.
It doesn't make much of a difference what side those who are acquiring access to our private data without our permission are on. All violations of our privacy, security and basic human rights, are wrong.
That some intentionally expose real, or more often “lightly
revised”, versions of their private lives in public arenas, isn't a problem. Hopefully
they know what they are doing and can take care of themselves.
All those who try to compete in one of the “dum, dummer and dummest” shows of which there are so many both on and off line, are mostly harmless and at best worth a laugh.
Not all who surf the web seem to have much of an idea of what they're doing or where they are doing it though, and, apart from being potentially embarrassing for these individuals, some of the carelessness shown can be right out dangerous.
We all like to spread a little fun and laughter around at times, but not everything that looks like harmless fun now will be quite as funny to see again in a few years time. May be worthwile to think about what messages we really are about to send, before posting.
Worst case scenarios are that one little seemingly innocent and unimportant bit of information can ruin lives if it falls into the wrong hands, and people should at least be aware of that simple fact before, and while, they do anything anywhere online.
One bit collected here and one bit collected there, numbers get crunched, and soon a more or less complete profile for a person or entity is put together. No lack of computing power and eavesdropping procedures on the internet, so if a method can be dreamt up it can and will be executed.
That most profiles are created by businesses tracking and collecting info about us and our surfing-habits that help them target us with the “right” advertisements, should be well known. Not too difficult to minimize the nuisance, but keeping your data safe is harder.
Advertising is not all such profiling can be, or is, used for though. Various forms for identity-theft comes to mind, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. A whole nother ballgame so better stay sharp.
State controlled eavesdropping and profiling fall into all classes imaginable, and then some. Not much one can do to avoid them since they do everything technically and programmatically possible to stay in control in cyberspace.
It can actually pay off to be a little bit paranoid when using any and all internet connected devices, and simply expect the entire chain to be compromised. It most likely is to a certain degree, and even if it isn't it certainly won't hurt to be restrictive with what data that gets handled on it, just to be on the safe side.
Truly paranoid people most likely won't go online at all, but for the rest of us staying offline for long is hardly an option nowadays. However, a little common sense and online sobriety will go a long way when using social media and other public channels to stay in touch with others who hopefully are just as sober and careful as we are.
Some seemingly harmless souls indiscriminately spread information about others, with no bad intents and usually without thinking twice about what they are doing. Not all of what comes out is harmless though.
Then there are those who intentionally try to harm others by spreading both sensitive personal info and lies about them. Not much one can do about those lowlives, apart from limiting their access to sensitive data they can misuse for whatever sleazy agenda they may have.
I discriminate heavily when it comes to use of public channels, and there are many apps and internet services I simply won't use because I do not trust them to take my privacy concerns serious and safeguard my data.
The apps, channels and services I do use, are under constant evaluation. I have little tolerance for potential hiccups and built-in flaws that compromise my rights to privacyor hamper my work, and what I don't like or find any need for gets thrown out – deleted.
Although I do not trust a single being or entity in the entire world to look after my
very personal interests as well as I can do myself, I see no reason to go totally
overboard and turn paranoid. Such a reaction would only cause unnecessary stress on my part,
and perhaps also make me even more introvert than I already am (shudder).
A relaxed attitude and a good dose of pragmatism, suits me much better.
In the end it comes down to a single phrase: “mutual respect”.
If all parties show genuine respect, solutions will eventually be found to any problem. Not a very likely scenario, but one should always keep on dreaming of a better world.
If respect is absent or expected to only go one way, everything will eventually become an uncontrollable mess. That's a very likely scenario the way things evolve, and we can only hope and pray that common sense and justice prevail.
Nothing will make me let my guard down and/or give up on any of my rights related
to individual freedom, security and privacy. These matters matter to me, and I don't want
to see them written off as “unavoidable collateral damage”.
And, in case you wonder: my ancestral ballast ensures the necessary steadiness and shallow draft in these treacherous waters, both on and off line. Now, let's beach that boat…*
26.jun.2017 - corrected and added links in sidenotes