Private and Confidential 

 

Week of 20th January 2020

Google announced on 14th January, 2020, that they would like to change the support for third party cookies.  It is, of course, a topic of privacy.  When it comes to researching on this subject, none does better, in my humble opinion, than the New York Times, who launched "The Privacy Project" a few years ago.  

The Privacy Project breaks down discussion topics into 4 broad categories:

  1. Does it matter?  (This really is the big question)

  2. What do they know and how did they know it? (shock shock horror)

  3. What should be done about it? (theoretical, out of our control perhaps)

  4. What can you do about it? (oh this is fully in your own control.  Go to settings...)

 

The Privacy Project has been collecting viewpoints at 10 articles a month on this topic, covering philosophical views, emotional and psychological views, legal matters and, of course, technology.

I highly recommend:

From the web:

New York Times

by New York Times

The Privacy Project

New York Times 

by Abdullah Shihipar

Data for the public good

New York Times

by Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel

One Nation, Tracked

New York Times

by Chris Hugh

It's time to break up Facebook

New York Times

by Timothy Libert

This article is spying on you

From our Chief Opinionator:

The founder of Insightful Opinions, Chief Opinionator is an individual who wishes to learn from others.  She scours the internet for diversified viewpoints and wishes to benefit readers.

Privacy Matters, but why?

Keeping a diary when I was growing up was a common practice and it was strictly a private and confidential piece of documentation.  Nowadays, through social media, users document their emotions, happenings, and thoughts on a daily (some even hourly or minutely) basis.  Difference is, they want the whole world to know.   As we want the world to know more about us, we are also more concerned about privacy.

I’ve always been in the camp of “As long as I’m not doing anything illegal, why should I worry about my browsing history, my face being recognised or my conversation being listened to.”  Yet I insist on shutting the door and having some privacy when I go to the bathroom.  As I researched more on this topic, I realized (at least for me) it isn’t breach of privacy itself that concerns me, but how the collected information is being used.   In this respect, I would like to focus specifically about my thoughts on the government and me.

 

If your government researches on your racial, medical, wealth data, in order to improve healthcare resources in the area that you live in, because they will know what demographics tend to have what needs, which in turn will lead to well-being of your community.  Would you be okay with your data being used?

 

How about your government listening to phone conversations in order to stop terrorist attacks in public areas including the downtown building that you work in.  Would you be okay with wiretapping?

 

But what if political parties collect your data and influence your decision on presidential election through personalized advertisements.  Now how do you feel about that?

 

A line needs to be drawn somewhere but it’s not easy to say where.

 

I am sure you have had regrets about having told your ex-lover a secret despite you having told that secret voluntarily when the relationship was still rosy.  The comfort or regret of sharing something private is due to the trust or the lack of it on the recipient, not to do with the act of sharing that private information. So can we trust the government or governments with our data?

 

In my opinion, I have no issues with my data being collected and stored, my conversation being listened to, or my face being tracked in public.  But I strongly believe we need regulation, on the government and her employees, that can effectively restrict usage of the data unless it is for the person’s well-being.  Unfortunately, in reality, it is perhaps difficult to implement and uphold.  Europe’s GDPR is a good start but there is still a long way to go as we have an even bigger problem with the private sector especially as technology improves.    

 

So, collect my data, but don’t mess with my head or my well-being.  That’s all I’m asking.