Protecting privacy in a digital world

Users need to take responsibility for their own data

What happens when you throw a billionaire millennial into a pack of older people who are just learning to harness the power of digital solitaire on their desktops? 

In the case of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg answering the questions of almost 100 legislators of congress, you get nationwide embarrassment. 

I’m not sure which was worse: watching our government’s leaders stumble through the same questions about the internet that a group of kindergarteners might ask or watching an incredibly powerful CEO shrug his way through the mishandling of his clientele’s data. 

Either way, the genie is not going back into the bottle on this one. 

Facebook profited off our data by allowing third-party applications to access it but they’re far from the first corporation to betray the trust of users when it comes to privacy. 

Collecting and profiting from data is a no-brainer for any large website. It’s the reason you get a billion spam emails every day and it’s the reason Cambridge Analytica was able to access personal data from 87 million Facebook users. It’s easy and it makes money. In the absence of comprehensive regulations passed by the government, I don’t see this changing. 

We probably do need to ratify some new legislation to grow alongside our world’s technological advancements but first and foremost, we need to take some responsibility for our own data. 

If you don’t want Big Brother capturing your every thought, then stop inviting him in. 

You don’t have to throw all your electronics in an incinerator and move to Antarctica to preserve your privacy. You just have to be cognizant of what you’re putting out there and how it could be used. 

If you don’t want to be tracked, turn off the location tracker on your phone. Take a tour through a website’s privacy settings and skim through the terms of usage agreements before mashing the “I accept” button. You can even tape an opaque blinder over your laptop’s webcam if you’re particularly paranoid. 

It’s not somebody else’s job to keep your data from being harvested if you’re sowing it all over the web. 

Click here for more from the Torch’s Opinions section.