Are you hiding something? Do you have nuclear codes on your PC or some other state secrets? Or maybe you have top-secret information related to a conglomerate? No? Well, then you might think that there is no point in spending any time or effort on getting the best antivirus software or the best VPN deals for security and privacy. But is that really the truth?
The reality is that people commit crimes daily, even without realizing it. Yes, even felonies. If you’ve ever downloaded a torrent with copyrighted files such as a movie or TV show, chances are you have committed a crime.
But even if we take that out of the equation, the argument isn’t about whether you have something to hide or not, it is about having the right to personal privacy online, even if you have a clean and spotless online presence. And if you still don’t think there is an issue, just think about how corporations might use your data and activity.
In this blog, we will argue more on this point, so if you hold any sort of stance on the argument for online privacy, this blog is for you.
The Case For Online Privacy
1. We All Have Things To Hide (And There’s Nothing Wrong With That)
Having something to hide isn’t the same as having a dark and terrible secret. Everyone has stuff that, while not specifically a secret, they would find it weird if a stranger knew all of that. From the password to your phone to your browsing habits to even the kind of music you listen to, this is all sacred information to us.
Not only that, but even if you have nothing to hide, you wouldn’t readily unlock your phone and give it to law enforcement or a corporation to comb through, would you? Even the most mundane data is precious to most people, and they would rather keep it to themselves rather than advertise it to the world.
There is also the fact that this mundane data could easily be used by hackers, the government or corporations in activities that could otherwise be termed as shady or unethical, so is it really wise to be an open book in this digital age?
2. Lack Of Privacy Can Snowball Into A Bigger Issue
We all know the adage, “knowledge is power”. Therefore it is safe to assume that information is power as well. It is what every good guy uses to get the upper hand on the bad guy in movies. From an individual level to an organizational level, information can be used to construct hacks and launch cyberattacks that can prove to be extremely damaging.
You might say that you don’t care about online privacy but if you were to find out that the shopping website that you are entering your credit card information and Social Security number does not have the appropriate encryption measures in place, you would immediately back out of the site and wipe any information you had put into it.
You might not realize it but on a broader, macro scale, huge amounts of data can do damage on a large level. The Cambridge Analytica scandal showed how easy it is to use US citizens’ data to alter the US presidential election’s outcome in real-time without even tampering.
Even something as benign and seemingly innocent as the targeted advertisement has gotten to a creepily advanced level. If you see an ad on the internet that you think is quite relevant to you despite not having actively searched for the product or service or even anything remotely similar, it is just another example of how your data is being used against you.
3. Privacy Is A Basic Human Right (One Can’t Function Without It)
Ultimately, it is about having a choice on whether you want to reveal something about yourself and your life. Even the most democratic and socially-aligned people can agree on a principle as obvious as this. Not only is privacy a right, but it is also necessary. A significant part of free speech is having the choice of enacting it or not.
Privacy and the lack of it was one the main themes of the book 1984 by George Orwell, which featured a central entity known as “Big Brother,” which monitored everything that a person said or did. Every thought was recorded or detected by this entity. It is obvious why the lack of privacy is something that is only featured in novels with a dystopian future.
The lack of privacy may very well lead to intrusive surveillance and the blurring of lines. We can already see it happening in today’s digital age. Social media sites are becoming more and more invasive, and sites like Facebook have already been caught taking advantage of this lack of accountability to create next-level artificial intelligence.
Other aspects are a threat to freedom of speech. These are already evident, as activists, and journalists are being suppressed. There is also the issue of self-censorship which has become glaringly obvious on platforms such as Twitter. If you don’t know where the line is, then there is no telling which side of it you might land on, which might lead to dire consequences.
So, it becomes obvious that you have to care about online privacy. If this is true, then you should use the best tools for it. Don’t delete your best VPN and antivirus software just yet. They might come in handy, after all.
So, everyone has something to hide. Even if it isn’t incriminating, they still have every right not to want to reveal it to the world. Taking away this choice can have many short-term and long-term negative consequences. So, you can’t afford to not care about this abstract commodity because it might be all that we have left in this digital age.