The talk over privacy has been ramping up in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. People are finally starting to realize that dumping their lives online could have negative consequences since the platforms that the Internet is built on are decentralized and created in such a way that they can be undone, oftentimes by one single person.
The paranoid are pointing out that they have been right all along. If you want to keep your information safe, don’t put it online. Easier said than done.
But even regular people are starting to get paranoid!
France Is Making Its Own Encrypted Messaging App
Since the popular messaging apps that people use like Whatsapp and Telegram are not based in France, the French government is building its own encrypted messaging app. France has a high reputation of protecting people’s privacy – scandalous stories of infidelity are generally kept out of the news and the respect for private life is still sacred.
But given the dependance on apps that are hosted in countries with less of a regard for the vie privée, the French government doesn’t want to take any chances. Will more governments follow? That depends. But it’s certainly a good move for those who believe that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
Targeted Advertising is Getting Really Personal
It’s not just those pesky Russians, the platforms you use everyday are getting really good at knowing you, like a perv peeping through your blinds everyday. On Facebook you could theoretically create targeting criteria so specific that you could reach one single person. That means that Facebook knows a shit-ton about us.
Should targeted advertising be banned then? That’s the subject of this thinkpiece that, admittedly, cries wolf. Clearly the answer is no, but could it be done in a less creepy way? Maybe. What’s for sure is that there are a lot of eyes peering over our digital shoulders. Putting a piece of tape over your webcam is not enough.
Face-scanning Technology is Getting Really Effective
But even if we escape the targeting on digital platforms, governments can still find us in the physical world – even in huge crowds. The Chinese government recently found a wanted suspect at a concert with 50,000+ people using facial recognition technology. And you thought all Chinese people looked the same!
Jokes aside, this level of digital recognition is getting really good, couple that with the proliferation of surveillance cameras and we are not that far from Orwell’s dystopia. Supporters of security believe that it will make crime less and less opportunistic, with criminals having fewer and fewer places to hide. The anxiety of being constantly watched – where the system knows it’s you – cannot be good on the cardiovascular health of the paranoid though.
Facebook Favors The User Experience Over Privacy
Instead of using the arrival of the GDPR as a moment to get people to pay attention to the security of their privacy, Facebook wants to annoy people as little as possible. Facebook wants to push you through the new GDPR European Data regulation agreements as quickly as possible. Not a good move here Facebook. Techcrunch breaks down just how easy it is to bypass reading the terms and conditions and controlling your privacy settings without actually having to come to terms with what you are giving up about yourself.
By the way, if you don’t know what the GDPR is, check back on Tuesday, I’ll have a full run-down.
It’s Not All Bad Though!
Just when you are ready to give up hope and move to a shack in Montana, not all is lost. In fact, even though people are getting super paranoid, there is one area that people are trusting others at incredible levels. The sharing economy.
88% trust complete strangers for services like ride-sharing. Considering that getting into a car is statistically one of the most dangerous things you can do, it’s remarkable that we have no problem getting picked up by someone we don’t know, and who isn’t licensed, to take us for a ride.
Hope is alive.