Data Privacy Day was observed on January 28. Privacy can simply be defined as “a state of mind where a person feels liberated from the constraints of the presence of people around him.”
But this has become a far-fetched dream for a netizen. Websites and web firms track every move of a user through cookies and other such mechanisms. Google will save your search history, an e-commerce portal your buying history, while Facebook all your data that you share on its platform. Some cookies even keep a trace of your moves when you hop from one website to the other.
Data is an invaluable asset for web firms. It has two-pronged use. While web companies can use it to offer personalised services, they can also use it to target personalised ads. This is how Google and Facebook largely make money. Facebook earned $3.15 billion last year from ads out of the total revenues of $3.75 billion.
This all is a big business for web firms, but comes at the expense of a user’s data privacy. Google’s email service Gmail scans users’ mails for keywords to show contextual ads. Microsoft recently took a dig at Gmail through a video for this same reason.
Google recently intoduced new unified privacy settings for 60 of its products. These will take effect from March 1. The new settings consolidate a user’s usage data across all Google services. Also, now Google can replace your past account name with a new one from its other service. This has posed new security concerns for the users..
Facebook recently decided to go public. This has engendered the fears that a user’s data is now more in jeopardy, as Facebook will try to gleam as much money as possible from advertisers and other entities by sharing more data than before with them.
It seems like the world that George Orwell imagined in his 1949 classic “1984” has metamorphosed into reality. And a netizen has really no other choice than face the 24*7 surveillance of the Big Brother. But he should try to trudge online as carefully as possible to avoid any future complications.
The ad below will inspire you further.
(This post was part of my college assignment).