At work once we were talking about online privacy and trust. It shouldn’t be a surprise that if you’re on the internet, you’ve agreed to give some large companies continuous info about you, whether you know it or not.
As a person in marketing, I know that this data is what is used to market things to people, so I can’t be totally against it, but it’s still kind of scary to think about how many strangers or unauthorized companies can know far too much about you, even if you are a safe, responsible person online.
There’s the argument that since we’re using Facebook and Gmail and stuff like that for free, our data is allowed to be collected (and used for marketing) as a trade-off, and while I guess that makes sense, it’s still kind of gross. Especially because that privacy doesn’t kick in once you do pay for an upgraded account or something. And with more and more companies just monopolizing everything like Amazon does for example, I think some have way too much info. If they get hacked, you could be screwed.
It’s about sacrifice and what you’re comfortable with, I guess. As a young person very connected and reliant on the internet, I’ve kind of made peace with the fact that my data is taken and out there. It’s just kind of how it is, and I don’t care enough to fight it. My boss, when we were talking about this, was like “every app you have is tracking you!” and he’s right, but like, okay, I hope Mario Kart and McDonalds enjoy me. I want those apps because they’re fun/easy/useful/whatever, and I don’t care if they know my general location or age.
Not that I ever really use my browser history, but I like having it, so I stick with Chrome as a browser though I know that some Google rivals like Duck Duck Go don’t save that stuff in the name of privacy. I guess it’s unfortunate that I have to choose to give Google my whole self in order to use a fairly basic feature, but that’s what the internet has come to.
On the flip side, my I-don’t-care attitude has limits. I have a little webcam cover on my laptop that I can slide over the lens. I keep it covered unless I’m using the camera, though I don’t really have anything to hide. If someone hacked my webcam, they’d see me lipsyncing to songs overenthusiastically or frowning at my screen because I think I have a slight resting frown face when I focus on things. I don’t really care if anyone sees that in general, but no one should. The fact of the matter is humanity and computers and whatnot can not be trusted, so my little webcam cover must protect me, and that’s an extra step I’m willing to take to make that happen. For the same reason, I don’t like Alexa or any of those in-home assistant robots. I don’t trust them. It’s too much.
It’s worth it to think about your comfort levels and the things you can do to protect yourself or fight back through alternative apps/software that don’t read/steal your data if you want (because there are genuinely good companies and systems out there if you look for them!), but at the end of the day, if you’re online, you’re probably being tracked to some extent, and that’ll probably never change. And as long as we don’t reach creepy robot wars or Alexa takeovers or something, it’s probably fine and just another example of some predatory, money-hungry businesses being the worst.
If it makes you feel any better, though WordPress at large probably does track stuff, the only info on you that I can see as this blog owner is what countries visit the site and what posts get views. It’s thrilling data.