Online privacy still means just that…right? No.

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It is common knowledge that privacy, more specifically digital privacy is withering away. What does not seem common is an awareness of the situation by the wider section of Internet users. This is most likely due to the perceived material and social benefits of using the freely available technology i.e. applications and service-providing platforms. There is definitely some dissonance triggered when trying to square the circle that wireless tech facilitating delivery of crucial medical supplies in hard-to-reach areas in Ghana can also play a part in the active subversion of public trust in these systems and applications that are dependent on wireless networks. When one looks to the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook user data handling abuse debacle or the fact that Amazon’s  pervasive tracking methods basically creates dystopic working conditions for its fulfillment center floor staff. This clearly points to a spectrum or at least the agnostic nature of technology…this is also the point where the eyes of most people glaze over, with reasons largely centered around the “i have nothing to hide” argument or the happy-go-lucky “it doesn’t affect me” stance.

From predictive adverts to passive** smart devices connected to the wider Internet, there is a difficulty in pinning down the precise point when one stops being a user of these apps and platforms and starts being a ‘product’ sold as metadata among the same platforms whose legitimacy is implicitly or explicitly trusted by virtue of ‘logging on’. Admittedly, if one is not steeped in the goings-on (shady or otherwise) of the technology arena, these issues tend to slip by. The deluge of info an individual wades through while online, also serves to desensitize said person from noticing potential adverse effects to their online privacy. Acknowledging these facets do not have to result in nihilism, cursory research on these issues will definitely demystify these privacy matters and set the critical mass of cybernauts down a rabbit-hole leading to easy methods and techniques meant to help in regaining some control of online privacy. At the very least, people online will know how to deny the wholesale corporate access to browsing/shopping habits, social media attitudes or strictly personal projects.

A starting point should be techforthepeople.org which is a handy and accessible website containing straight-forward tech-tips focused on bolstering your individual online security that is almost constantly subverted by all sorts of interest groups with or without your express consent. As stated earlier, nihilism is not the aim here, that being said, it should be known that there is no one-size-fits-all method for total online privacy simply due to the dynamic nature of the internet as well as the devices/networks that facilitate access to the internet. All this isn’t ending anytime soon, so….

 

**passive smart devices such as speakers or smartwatches have to ‘listen’ for activation commands in order to complete tasks e.g. amazon echoes or apple watches activate after the trigger phrases ‘alexa’ or ‘hey siri’ (respectively) are said.

 

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