Giving Up Your Privacy For Products
Updated: Oct 20
In this time and age, every single online activity can have a financial and informational value. What I mean by that is, each of your online actions can be recorded and used to either sell it to third parties, or be stored in an organization's database, to better learn about its users' activities when they consume its online products, such as websites, apps, and even gaming consoles.
This greatly damages our right to privacy, even though we ourselves, technically, choose to do so by agreeing, directly or indirectly, to an organization's terms of privacy, whether we actually took the time to read it or not.
It is arguable to assume that our general tendency to just skip through online contracts instead of reading them with enough dedication is the number one reason why our privacy is breached by said organizations. We know very well that it is a "black or white" case: we either agree to the terms of the product and gain access to it, or disagree and be denied the ability to consume it, or even use it, if the subject at hand is an internet-connected gaming console.
Should we protest against the breaching of our privacy by many third parties, or by the product makers themselves, they can easily claim that it is, after all, our very own consent, that makes our online presence monitored, whether we know of it or not. That is because as long as we clicked on the button that says "I agree", the only escape from the monitoring is the removal of our product from our devices, and/or even deleting our account from that company's website.
There are even products that require to know your location in order to be used, which is absurd, not only because it greatly violates our privacy, but also since it's not that necessary. Have you ever been recommended a friend on social media, whom you have no related friends with, simply by being next to them, like at work?
This is how certain corporations know about you more than you might currently be aware of. Other such potentially-overlooked breaches are access to your phone or computer's camera, and even be able to make calls through your phone (even though, I believe, the latter is relatively rare).
If you lack the time or energy to read each section of an agreement, find at least the central sentence of each of the contract section. The choice of whether or not you consent is more important than some, if not many, may take it to be.
Regardless, beyond using user information to better familiarize oneself with one's userbase (and even that should be restricted for one's privacy), I think that demanding a user to sacrifice so much of their personal information is exaggerated, if not absurd. I remember the 2000's, where I had my PS2 and I did not had to give any of my personal information just to play a game or even launch the console. I remember the internet before the rise of social media and its dominance over our lives, where phones did not require internet connection in order to better allow communication between people. Looking back, times were surely simple beyond all the virtual contracts we now have to go through in order to do the same actions we did 10-20 years ago.
And it isn't like we can completely retrieve the personal information we gave away by mere consent. Remember that even if you don't pay a company by using their product, you technically "pay" them with info that later becomes their possession, their resource, and thus, their power. Additionally, since they are private enterprises, they have greater freedom that can only be hindered by lawsuits caused by breaking the rules, should they ever do so.
I can give a personal example as to why I still use social media, even though I am aware that I sacrifice some of my privacy by doing so. Since the greatest exposure anyone can get is by the internet, and no longer on TV, some online presence is required nowadays if one is to have their provided content consumed.
Finally, I don't know if you've checked, but you can choose on this website to "Not sell my personal information." This means that it won't be transferred to third parties. Since I want to make this site a safe place privacy-wise, you can protect your privacy simply by clicking on that sentence in any of your devices. Furthermore, if you haven't already, I recommend reading the website's policies.
I am aware that there are things I cannot change, but like Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." And indeed, this is but one of the changes: a world that respects the privacy of its population, more than its own lust for domination.