Science and Human Rights

Technology as an instrument to invade privacy

We live in a world where technology has made everyone’s lives easier and is making it even easier day by day. We’ve come a long way regarding developing technologies. Still, this very advanced development of technology has now become an instrument to invade privacy, which is a very alarming issue. In this blog, we’ll be discussing only that. 

Privacy can be best defined in terms of “restricted access/limited control.” Restricted access means that there is a form of confidentiality where some people are allowed access and others are not, so a person can stop others from viewing their information if they so choose 

Technology plays a huge role in storing, gathering, retrieval of information. For e.g., if you have an account on any social media website, they take your address, phone number, and other personal information, which examples are saved in their database. These companies make money by selling your data to advertisers to target ads to people that are more likely to be interested in the advertisement. 

A few days ago (May’2021), there was a data breach in Domino’s Pizza database; over 13TB of data was leaked, and someone posted it online. You have just to enter a phone number, and you will get all the details linked with that phone number, order histories, address, bills, etc., as Domino’s does save this data in their database. People who are very concerned with their privacy didn’t like this at all. 

One might wonder that what is this information used for. If a service is being offered to you for “free”, the chances are that you are the “product.” Your time and data are what are making companies like Facebook and Google money. In the case of Facebook, advertisers pay them for two different types of ads. Some ads are blanket ads that have an equal chance of being seen by everyone. However, most of the advertising money that Facebook is from targeted ads. Google does the same thing with information it has gathered on users, but most of Google’s revenue still comes from sponsored search results.

Is this something to worry about? 

The increase in the gathering of information user’s consent,”, is the cause for alarm. Most agencies and companies may misuse this data; for, e.g. an insurance company may have been mining for client data to look for possible health risks, and have been accused of changing client rates based on the data they have mined. 

The fact that companies are making money from your personal information, and that there are very few limitations to what they can do with that information, should be very concerning. Those who actually care about their privacy should be aware and should read the End-User License agreements given by many companies, it is filled with a lot of details, so people just press Accept and go on. Don’t do that. Read it carefully. 

Even if you are not that much concerned about your privacy, you should think about the consequences that may take place and then make your decision. 

References: 

https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1430&context=honorsp rojects 

https://blog.ipleaders.in/technology-threat-privacy/

Submitted by Shivam Verma