In today’s time, Surveillance is all around us. We carry our smartphones everywhere, have mics on all our devices like Alexa, laptops tablets and make sure to post every small event of our lives on social media, compromising not just our own privacy, but that of the people around us. Though modern humans crave privacy and personal space, they themselves breach the power of privacy.
Earlier the entire family stayed together and privacy was only a myth, but things changed and the nuclear family became the new-age living style. However, privacy is something we still have not achieved.
What is Privacy?
Privacy is a person’s or a group’s capacity to isolate themselves or information about themselves and hence express themselves selectively. When a person refers to something as “private,” it usually refers to anything that is unique or sensitive to them.
We all have a key to our apartment. This key helps provide access to our living room, bedroom, kitchen, our computers, laptops and everything else that is in your house. Do you go around making copies of your house key and distributing it around to everyone and anyone you meet?
The answer is simple… NO! It would not be the best idea to do something this stupid.
Giving up pivacy
So why are you willing to give up your personal data to pretty much anyone who asks for it?
Privacy is the key to unlocking the most private and personal aspects of oneself, the ones that make you most you and most vulnerable. Your entire body is exposed. Your sexual history as well as your desires. Diseases you’ve had in the past, are currently experiencing and may develop in the future. Your failures, your losses, and your anxieties. The most heinous thing you’ve ever done, spoken or imagined. Your inadequacies, blunders, fears and traumas. The most humiliating experience you’ve ever had. You wish you didn’t have that family relation. Your most inebriated night.
Giving this key to privacy to a closed one can help you tackle some of your dark days, and also celebrate the happy days. Your birthday can be a celebration for a loved one. However, this same key to privacy if falls in the hands of the wrong person who don’t have your best interest at heart will exploit your data to further their own agenda. Privacy matters because the lack of it gives others power over you.
What is Power?
Power is divided into two categories.
In 2014, the German philosopher Rainer Forst defined power as “A’s ability to urge B to think or do something that B would not have thought or done otherwise.” The methods through which the powerful exercise their power are numerous. Motivational speeches, recommendations, ideological world descriptions, seduction, and genuine threats are among them. Forst contends that using raw force or violence is not an exercise of power since those who are subjugated do not ‘do’ anything; rather, they are subjected to something.
Max Weber, a German political economist, defines this second facet of power as the ability of people and institutions to “carry out [their] own will notwithstanding resistance” in Economy and Society (1978).
Power over others’ privacy is the quintessential kind of power in the digital age
Power of Privacy : The Documentary
A half-hour documentary by the Guardian, the Power of Privacy throws a spotlight on a few modern threats to privacy. Briefly covering the history of privacy, the video shows how we got to the present day, in terms of both technology and human behaviour.
Aleks Krotoski travels the world in this documentary film, to face challenges that examine our digital lives in the twenty-first century. Observe her being tracked and hacked, struggle for the return of released information, plunge into open data, and live in a futuristic home that tracks her every step.
Well, my life is an open book, I’m not worried about you revealing any of that information.’ But if I’m looking to go after you and to get you to do something you might not want to do, I’m going to use anything at my disposal to create some sort of psychological leverage
The documentary discusses various aspects of privacy and how we tend to ignore the red flags of modern technology.
The woman also stays in a smart home for some time and discussed with experts the downside of staying in a smart home. They talk about how smart homes though have made human life easy, are also a great source of hackers to get into your life.
Hackers can take advantage of smart home technology. Cameras, for example, can be hacked to allow people to spy on you at home.
Smart device manufacturers want to get their products out the door as quickly as possible, so they don’t put as much emphasis on security and privacy as they should.
Smart devices (IoT devices) have three key attack surfaces:
a. App linked to a smart device
b. Inventive device
c. User data is stored in the cloud.
It’s estimated that presently 1% of everything that could be connected to the Internet is. Imagine a world where the other 99% are also constantly sensing, storing, and communicating data about every aspect of our lives.
What you can do?
After discussion with various technology experts, here are some preventive measures that we can take in our individual capacity to exercise the power of privacy.
a. Be cautious of the digital footprint you leave. Keep an eye on what you post on social media and on your website.
b. Untrusted devices (USB drives, keyboards, etc.) should not be plugged into your computer.
c. Be wary of free offers, especially if they seem too good to be true. If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
d. Even if you safeguard your messages and conversations, be cautious of what metadata can disclose.
e. Consider the privacy implications of a smart gadget before purchasing or installing it. What could be done with the device if it were to be used against you? How could the device’s information be used against you?
f. Take charge of your own digital safety and privacy.
You may believe that your privacy is secure because you are a nobody with nothing noteworthy, fascinating, or significant to view here. Don’t scrimp on yourself. Businesses and governments would not go to such lengths to snoop on you if you weren’t so important.
So respect your power of privacy and take proper measures to not let someone else hack your happiness.