We live in a society with a fickle understanding of privacy.
On one hand, we’ve been conditioned to think that personal information in government hands is an overt attempt at control, and can only end badly. That same data in private businesses’ hands, though, will only help to serve customers better and is good for everyone.
I spent a number of years working for the United States Bureau of the Census and was often amazed at the resistance to revealing basic personal information. But these same folks happily provide the same data to Facebook or hand over their social security number to any financial institution.
How can we have privacy when we don’t protect it – much less understand it?
Three Laws of Technology
To understand what risks your personal information faces in the future, consider these three laws of technology:
Moore’s Law will lead to miniaturized cameras, microphones and processing units that can track, record and transmit everything we do or say. Kryder’s Law will allow third parties to retrieve and store your personal data at minimal cost.
And Amara’s Law reveals that we cannot predict how future technology will affect our lives.
Innovators, prioritizing profit over privacy, will thus devote the smallest fraction of resources to safeguard user data and improve system security. At the same time, privacy law lags far behind current technology, and will not catch up any time soon.
Mix those three laws with our willingness to sacrifice privacy for convenience and safety, and the future of digital privacy looks bleak.
Changing Mindsets to Protect Privacy
Securing privacy in the future will require three major shifts in mindset.
First, citizen users should understand the personal consequences of compromised personal data. This hits more people than you think: in 2018 alone, massive hacks of Facebook and T-Mobile data affected 50 million and 2 million users respectively.
Second, we need to make sure our government shares our interests. We need to elect people who can defy bureaucrats and lobbyists by pushing sweeping privacy reform through all branches of government.
Third, we will need to vote with our dollars. Businesses must learn that protecting their customers is a huge responsibility, not lightly set aside. When manufacturers and service providers betray our trust, they should feel the consequences in the bottom line.
The Future is Not Set in Stone
That said – I am not optimistic about the future of privacy. I would say it is long gone and we are never getting it back.
However, take heart: all is not lost. Just change a few of your digital and actual habits, and you lessen the chances of being singled out in a cyber attack. You will never be a hundred percent safe in this world, but at least you will cease to be an easy mark.
Take your privacy seriously. Start small, take a look at your passwords to make sure they are strong and deactivate accounts you no longer use. Create an email account with false information, and use this account to sign up for everything.
Avoid posting private pictures or giving away your location. Start using encryption, improve your web browsing habits, be suspicious of phishing emails, and don’t just click on anything or download strange “free” apps.
Out in the real world, start paying with cash more frequently. Never divulge your social security number; tell potential business partners that they will need to come up with another way to move forward, otherwise find someone else to do business with.
Once you have changed your habits and know why you’ve done so, start telling others. Write your congressional representatives, get out and vote, and vote with your dollar. If enough users follow through, we might just be able to change the future of privacy
To find out how we can help eliminate the risks to your private data, call 866-446-1133 or visit www.allcovered.com – a small step that might just change your future for the better!