Prior to our current digital lifestyle, privacy basically entailed our physical identity (name, location, and
identifiable facts about us), profile (interests and preferences), and private property (the physical
surroundings under our ownership). Since the mass adoption of the internet and various technologies that we use, there is now more that we should be aware of. The online world has a lot of technology that has access to our information if we allow it. Digital privacy, and online privacy, are not the default. It is a
practice we need to do in order to protect ourselves.
Many people don’t realize that many of our interactions with technology are potential data that can
be extracted and used in order to learn more about you. These interactions can include clicking on
websites and what we enter into search engines such as Google. It can include the content we consume
(Youtube provides content based on what you like). Whenever we purchase something we typically have
to give personal information in order to make the purchase. All this data is collected, stored, and sold. It’s
used by third parties and sophisticated algorithms in order to create a picture of the people using the
various devices used to access this tech and the internet.
Without control over your identity and data, you can be tracked, monitored, and analyzed in real-time online. This is why online privacy and digital privacy are so important. We don’t know who is watching what we do. The information you see can be curated to try to manipulate what you think. Governments, such as China (with the help of advanced Artificial Intelligence systems), can track what you do and limit your movements in the real world based on what you do online. Also, all this data about you can be hacked and used by completely unknown entities.
Tools such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), GPG encryption, Tor, and private cryptocurrencies are some tools that can be used to protect your online privacy and digital privacy. They may not be able to stop data related to your actions from being recorded, however, they do have the ability to separate your identity from your actions, offering a level of anonymity while using technology and the Internet.