“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” — Eric Schmidt
The Internet has a laundry list of advantages that benefit mankind greatly, but there’s one thing that we give up in the process — privacy. Data about you is fodder for many tech companies. Google has long been in the business of user data. In lieu of great products and services, they want to know more about you, so they can serve you ads that will make you want to click them. Think about it — business models have been entirely ruined because of this.
In the past, people paid for turn-by-turn navigation apps from TomTom or Garmin, now you get it for free with Google Maps. People previously couldn’t do with paid office productivity software like MS Office, now Google Docs has come to a point where it’s good enough for many of us. Before, you shelled out money for a group video conference with Skype’s Premium offering, while Hangouts let you do it for free. There’s no beating a great product that you can use for free. Well, not exactly free since they’re getting ‘you’ in exchange. Foursquare relies on you to share your location by ‘checking-in’. Facebook wants to know more than just where you’ve studied or where you work or your relationship status — they want to know your favourite movies, TV shows, musicians, book authors. TrueCaller wants to get your phone book.
Even if you try very hard to stay off the grid, people around you will ensure you exist. This kind of no privacy has its disadvantages that can get you into awkward situations. For example, you’re trying to avoid somebody by saying you’re not feeling all too well, only to then be posting something on social networks that may suggest otherwise (that is viewable to them). A good friend of mine once asked me not to be tag him at the movie theatre, because his team sitting at the office working late might get the wrong impression. This is the kind of micromanagement you have to deal with as you hold on to your dear privacy.
You can either be in the nail-biting camp, or you can be the one that doesn’t have to fear anything. As I’ve realised over the course of the last few years, this lack of privacy is making us better people. No beating around the bush needed. Whenever I post anything online, I am fully aware that whatever I say can and will be used in the court of the interwebs. It helps me keep my conscience clear, holds me accountable to my words. So, it doesn’t matter if a tech company knows where I live, where I work, which bar I was at Friday night drinking…because what’s the worst it is going to do to me, serve me even more targeted ads? As long as they’re not going to knock on my door and sell me a product, I could care less.