What is Privacy?

“Back in my day we didn’t have them mobile phones or able to surf the world wide web!” 

I think we could assume that the quote above is becoming obsolete as the years go by due to our technology advances. But imagine for a second if you never had a mobile phone, the internet, or even a computer ever in your lifetime. There are children today who have had the internet at the touch of their finger tips before starting school which blows my mind. Personally social media and technology have both been a part of about only half of my life. Who would we be without social media? Does all this technology do nothing but greater good for mankind? I do find myself asking a lot of questions like this when ever a new piece of technology or a social media application is introduced and wonder who it’s actually benefiting.

Even though I still use them, I have found myself to grow more irritated over the years when ever I join huge social media applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. that I’ve never had as a young kid. I find it irritating whether I’ll be reading people’s posts that I find annoying or just from simply “following” too many people. But assuming every social media application deals with exchanging information with other users, how do we know that the information we share with others is just only being shared with the other social media user? That makes me think about a more serious note about the important data that’s being shared over an app as well. We must question things like how is information exactly being transferred and how much privacy we really have online.

First let’s think about the idea of how private social media really is (or how it use to be). Seems like for ever ago when I first created my Facebook account; but I’ve always question any application where I have to give out my full name. Little did I know that’s how it is for every social media application that’s out there. That’s why I first came up with my “online persona” of calling myself “Sean Mac”. It may sound dumb but I was in high school at the time when I made all my social media accounts and just didn’t want my last name out there on the internet. So right away any social media account knows our full name and most likely knows what we look like from uploading a profile picture leading to today’s invention of face recognition. That is just where it all begins on a list that goes on and on. But we can look at some recent social media attributes that I think have the most concern in regards to privacy:

Logo from 316apps.com
Logo from 316apps.com

1. Message Applications – For example, NBC News did a report on how the Facebook’s Messenger App appears to be invasive to it’s users. Since some users believe they are forced to download another application to basically “text online” through Facebook is the reason the application is disliked by some. I also wonder why Facebook made their users download another application to do something that it could already do. But the article actually does go over the facts and myths of the application and even gives it a more positive review rather than what people make it out to be.  I can see where people may get concerned thinking Facebook is monitoring (as they may) all the conversations going on, but personally I don’t think it is any different than anything else we use to communicate now a days. But we have to realize this isn’t anything new for texting online. Let’s go back to 1997 when the great o’l AIM was created. I feel that modern online texting applications are the exact same thing without the use of dial up internet.

location-services-iphone
Photo from pungpravat.com

2. Location Services– I know that a lot of today’s applications immediately ask permission to track your location upon download. If we heard of anything like this 5 years or so ago that satellites knew our every move, we would all freak out. But don’t a lot of applications deal with location?  I don’t see why people get worked up when they hear that their smartphone that’s connected to the internet, multiple applications, satellites,  Wi-Fi, etc. could possibly be tracked for other reasons. So I feel if people are paranoid that their phone is being tracked for the wrong reasons, then they simply shouldn’t have an up to date phone. I also feel that our phones need to be connected by satellites/internet in order to do everything else that we love them for.

Photo from gfi.com
Photo from gfi.com

3. Entering Personal Information – I know when social media applications came around it wouldn’t take long until businesses and companies jumped on the opportunity to get their business in their customers’ pockets…literally. But for businesses to reach customers, that would require the customers to enter and submit their personal information and eventually the exchange of money through online. This is where I feel where the topic of privacy would be risky to some. If it weren’t for the popular use and reviews of websites and applications like Amazon.com, eBay, and iTunes, I personally wouldn’t enter credit card information or anything that deals with money. I have once dealt with getting my identity stolen over an online shopping website but it wasn’t a “legit” website. With that said, I think it takes a little research and common sense to make sure what the safe and “sketchy” websites are.

Overall since the internet must be second nature, we must adapt to the idea of the way things are in regards to online and its privacy. In order to do that, we literally must create a virtually self online in order to stay up to date to what happens whether it deal with social or finances.

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Video by Epipheo

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