Privacy Policy Of Your Existence

Chapter 1 — Online Surveillance

On average, only one in five people read the privacy policies of services they register for. So, most people might not be aware of what kind of data are companies tracking. Can we really call it consent if you have no idea what you’re consenting for? Although, this doesn’t seem to bother most of us. After all, if there’d be something bad going on, it would be all over the news, right? There’s a flaw in this reasoning though. Everyone has a different viewvue on what data they’re willing to share. What could bother you individually may not always be that kind of thing that’d surface as a headline in the media.

Chapter 2 — Interpersonal Surveillance

It’s not only companies that can track you and potentially misuse access to your data. Picture this. You’re enjoying a cup of coffee in a random coffee shop in Berlin. At the table next to yours, you notice someone is taking a picture of their food. They take a long time to get the picture right and that leaves you intrigued. Now let’s say you want to see that picture. Well, there might be a simple way to do so. There’s a chance the person will share the picture on their public Instagram. So you open the app, search for the coffee shop (or look up pictures taken in that particular area — Instagram allows this), and there it is. That’s the picture the other person took. Not only that, you now have access also to the name of the person, their other pictures, their friend’s pictures, and their names. You can suddenly see into a life of a complete stranger.

Chapter 3 — Is There Any Way Out?

So, what to do about all this? How can you protect yourself from the grabby hands of companies and other individuals who mean harm? The answer is, it’s not that easy unless you understand what weapons are being used in the fight. Even if you’re okay with information being collected about you. (perhaps you like having personalized ads as it helps you discover new products you enjoy). It helps to be aware of what data exactly have advertisers access to. And what all other people may have access to. Then and only then you can decide what’s okay for you and what’s not. It’s a very personal decision.

Conclusion — The Final Twist

This is where Medium as a platform doesn't work for the intention of this article anymore. If you've read this article here on Medium till here, consider visiting the same article on my personal blog. Then you can either read it again (it may be slightly different), or scroll down to the final twist, read it, and explore for yourself. Have fun!

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