Today every single site on the web is talking about your online privacy protection. And taking the oath that they will take care of our privacy more than gold.
But, do you think they really do that? Not sure? No problem, let me solve this query.
Online Privacy Protection: Truth or Myth?
Before answering this question, let’s find how exactly these things work.
At first, let’s talk about your smartphone and their applications. This is because your smartphone is the main door of your online privacy breach.
Have you ever paid attention to the pop-up while installing any app from the Play Store?
If yes, then you might have noticed that many apps ask for absolutely irrelevant permission. For example, a flashlight app asks for permission to access your contacts.
Now, the question is what is the need of contacts to switch on or off the flashlight?
I wonder when I see apps asking all available permissions that are directly related to our privacy.
But who cares? I just need that app and so, give all permission that it is asking for. This is our mentality, isn’t it?
Now, talking about popular and so-called trusted sites like Facebook, Google etc. What do you think?
Are these sites safe?
According to a Pew Research report: It you set “Who can see my stuff” to “Friends of friend” means that you are sharing information with 156, 569 people.
Well, I wasn’t sure before Cambridge Analytica data breach case. But, Now I’m 100% sure that our data is not safe.
And the sad part is Google and Facebook know about you more than you and your relatives.
Let’s see what they collect.
Almost every application and website collects your contact information for marketing purposes. This means they have your relative’s and friends’ contact information even they haven’t shared it.
Recently a new study report from Gizmodo says that Facebook is creating “Shadow Profile” of those people who haven’t shared their information on their own.
And Facebook is doing this by integrating the contact information of each user to increase the accuracy of their ads.
Do you know why Facebook, Google or other websites/apps collect your real-time location data?
Well, let’s understand this by an incident happened with me.
One day I visited a showroom of a certain brand. When I returned home I noticed that I was seeing ads only of that particular brand or related products everywhere.
But it’s not the end. I often get notification from Google maps like Hey Deepak! Recently you visited this place how was it?
It can be plenty good to feel at that time.
But It is really surprising and shocking in terms of privacy protection. Because I don’t want anyone to monitor where I go and whom I meet.
Personal data? what type of personal data? And what would they do of my personal data? These are some questions that people ask when say all websites collect personal data of users.
So, does personal data mean name, date of birth etc?
Yes, but they collect more than just name, gender, and date of birth etc.. It can be your relationship status, hobbies, browsing behavior, shopping behavior, favorites, interests, health status and much more.
Facebook also collects data from other devices connected to your network. That means even if you are not using Facebook but Facebook is still watching you.
And, these all are done to show you specific ads based on your interests and behavior and more targeted ads.
Audio and Video.
Here is what former FBI director said when someone asked why he uses a tape to cover his laptop camera:
“I hope people lock their cars,” he said. “Lock your doors at night… if you have an alarm system, you should use it.”
“It’s not crazy that the FBI director cares about personal security as well”, “So I think people ought to take responsibility for their own safety and security,” the FBI director added.
Apps with access permission to your camera and microphone can switch on camera and mic anytime without your knowledge. And, can do what they want to do like clicking photos, recording videos and audios.
For example, have you tried virtual assistants like Ok Google, Alexa? How do they work?
When you say Ok Google! it gets active and starts replying to your queries. It means, it is listening to you even when you are not using your phone.
Can’t it record those audio sounds?
Of course yes! These apps can record audios and videos, make calls, delete files and a lot.
Now tell me how private are you?
Where is your online privacy?
A former Detective at St Louis Metropolitan Police in an answer to a Quora question explained how you can be tracked even if your phone is switched off. He said:
If your phone is connected to a power source…i.e; the Battery or the car charger it can be “tracked” continually. Regardless of if the power is on or off the phone if connected to a power source will continue to “ping” the nearest cell tower and be handed off from one to the next as you travel.
An Americal hacktivist Edward Snowden also said:
Government Can Access Everything On Your Cell Phone Even If It’s Turned Off!
And the irony is that they can do all these without your service provider’s knowledge.
Millions of data breach incidents happen behind us but we are totally
unaware of it.
Here are stats of the number of the data breach from Breach level Index. It’s really scary because our favorite social media plays a major role in the data breach.
“76.20% of the total breach in 2018 was done through social media.”
When you monitor the behavior of your apps then you’ll notice that your apps are spying on you instead of helping. We think Facebook, Google is free, the Internet is free.
But, the reality is that nothing is free. Some are selling their own products and some are selling us as their product.
And that’s why people in developed countries like the USA started Delete Facebook campaign to make them realize their fault.
In my opinion, Online privacy is just a myth and we should accept it. what do you think about online privacy? Leave your answer in the comments.
And.. the most important thing share this post to them who think they are totally safe online.