• Patrick McAndrew

How Precious Is Our Privacy?

Data breaches seem to be the talk of the town today.  The Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal plastered the news and people are chanting that “Privacy is dead!”  I disagree.

I find that I am still able to have my privacy.  If I go into the bathroom, I would wager my bets that I am going to find my privacy, at least I’d hope.  At the end of a long day hopping from destination to destination, I am comforted with the fact that I will find privacy in my own home.  While there are many people who are homeless, a large portion of us have a home of some sort to go to and relish in our privacy away from the noise of the outside world.

So what’s the deal with all this “privacy is dead” talk?  Well, as you may have already guessed, most of us who preach this sermon are talking about online privacy.  Our personal information, credit card accounts, bank accounts, photos, location, and the like are all out in the ether for anyone to take advantage of.  Now, in defense of those credit card companies or banks, they do work hard at cyber-security, though nothing is guaranteed.

Then we have our social media apps, where people broadcast their lives to a wide network of “friends,” from the latest sandwich that we ate, to the last gas station we frequented.  When we stop to take a moment and analyze what we do and say on social media, it’s all pretty funny and a fascinating study on the way human beings behave.

That aside, the above is evidence that we happily forfeit our privacy.  Privacy, in the online world, doesn’t really exist and it would be silly to think otherwise.  Our world is in an upheaval about online privacy scandals, but the fact of the matter is your information became public as soon as it was online.  Or perhaps not?

As a country, and as a world for that matter, we are still trying to figure out this whole Internet thing.  It’s still relatively new and its becoming increasingly more difficult to determine what’s a crime and what’s not when it’s not happening in our physical realty.  I discussed this way back when in one of my first blog posts, Can You Be Tried For A Crime Not In Reality?

The line between online privacy and no online privacy is very thin, if it even exists at all.  I’m led to believe that a large part of the problem is that we, as a society, are becoming so reliant on the Internet that we see our lives as existing in the online world.  To claim that “privacy is dead” while we can still escape to our bedrooms or to the most secluded places in the mountains is disorienting.  Privacy isn’t dead, at least not yet.  Privacy never really existed much on the Internet.

We need to be more aware of what we post and share online.  Most things are harmless and because most people are good people, problems will mostly not arise.  But if we are concerned with who has access to our personal information, we must take steps to wisely protect ourselves.

We should enjoy our privacy in real life instead of being too concerned about privacy online because we likely won’t find much of it there.

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