How Much Do We Value Our Online Privacy?

A short response to ABC Lateline program “Big Data: How much do we value our online privacy?” (March 10 2015)

It is shocking, alarming and concerning that our privacy is violated in todays tech savvy online world. People generally don’t like to share their personal information with strangers (as demonstrated in the coffee shop social experiment), however most are ignorant to the fact that we share a slice of our life online every time we use the internet. What we buy, where we are, who we contact, what we are interested in and what we say becomes data gathered by servers which machines read to improve personally directed advertising.

This constant scooping up of our private information is unnerving. It is particularly frightening to hear that police have access to personal data stored by internet and phone companies without the need for a warrant. Naturally unease follows and a concern for what the government will want to use this data for. Is technology forcing us to become a Big Brother state?

Privacy does seem to be “dead” in todays day and age, but we must attempt to combat these violations instead of simply “getting over it” as some may suggest. Eliminating the vulnerability and ignorance of individuals regarding the ability to collect online data is the first step to approaching the issue of privacy breaches. Educating the public on ways to circumvent releasing personal data will allow individuals to make informed decisions when using the internet and other technologies such as mobile phones.

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