Why do we give away our privacy so freely, in exchange for cute puppy videos?
As Internet users, we are quite naive and dumb. We love Facebook, but we get annoyed when we are confronted by ads.
Well, welcome to the brave new world where nothing is for free, and your very private data is a readily tradable commodity. But don’t rush to blame others. Blame yourself for being so easily fooled.
At the same time, forget about being monitored by ultra-secret national ‘big brother’ spying agencies. Your biggest danger comes from what you voluntarily use every day because you think it is free, and that you are at liberty to say, like and agree to whatever you like, without anyone taking an ounce of notice.
Ho wrong you are.
How do I know about your private data?
Because I use Facebook, Google and Twitter advertising to help promote my blogs.
At the touch of a dropdown list, I can find you by your income, your gender, where you live, how old you are, what interests you have posted about online, and by your profession. By what you like and don’t like. By your political preferences. The only small piece of data I am missing is your name, But don’t become reassured by this, as it is only that online advertisers keep this one piece of information for themselves.
The day may not be far away when they are prepared to share this last piece of the puzzle if there is the chance of making more billions.
When you register as an online advertiser, the initial shock takes a while to dissipate. There is so much data to mine; one can indeed feel like a little Big Brother. If I want to advertise a new romance book, I can narrow down my advertising to such a focused and defined audience, which from my social media accounts, I will almost know you all by name.
And it doesn’t stop there. Once I invest a whole $5.00, I can track all of those who click, by a clever little thing called a Pixel tracker to see what you clicked, and what you did with your mouse or finger. If that isn’t enough, I can hop over to Google Analytics and find out even more about you, including what device you were using, and what tiny little town you are from. If this is you, it’s time to read 1984 again.
Cute puppy! But hey, stop spying on me!
Bad luck. You can’t have it both ways. Social media is all about giving you what pleases you, but without you knowing, you are giving away your most sensitive personal data. Well, in exchange for the cute puppy video.
Have you ever read the terms and conditions and privacy use statements of the social media networks you use? Yeah, right, never. Perhaps you should because you are in for a big surprise.
The only difference is that Winston Smith knew he was in danger. You don’t.
Forget about the FBI or NSA hacking your iPhone, because you have saved them all the trouble because they can find almost all they need to know about you from your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Oh, by the way. Thinking of finding a new job? Forget Linkedin, because you only posted great stuff about yourself there. But HR departments are not stupid. Where do they look when they want to know more about you? Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of course.
Oh dear. You have been posting some naughty stuff, so say goodbye to your new dream job.
George Orwell is rolling in his grave, laughing at all of us
Orwell warned us that Big Brother wanted to spy on us all. But he could never have envisaged that we would happily comply, just because we could buy a device that delivered us cute puppy videos.