A connected world


Q. I have nothing to hide so why should I worry about privacy?

A. Most people think they have nothing to hide but that isn’t reality. If I asked you for your bank account login information would you give it to me? How about your social security number? You probably wouldn’t give those things to me nor would you trust anyone outside of maybe immediate family with that type of information either.

Beyond that big tech companies use algorithms to create a digital model of your very existence based on what they know (which is a lot) and they monetize it. After all nothing is free and you are their product. This information can also be used against you for psychological manipulation. It can be used to feed you content it knows you will enjoy to keep you on a social media platform for as long as possible or it can be used to alter your perception by blocking out political voices you agree with and amplifying voices big tech wants you to agree with.

Speaking of politics, opinions are like… you know. Everyone’s got them and some of the world’s governments may not like yours. If they have easy access to a digital model of you they can punish you based on said model. It’s already happened across the globe with a recent example being China and their social credit system. There’s speculation that many countries will follow suit unaware they are even doing so as current financial credit systems do more and more investigation into what people are up to online when calculating their scores. Furthermore if you trust the current political party in power who’s to say you will trust the next one? The US government can subpoena these big tech companies at any time to get any of the data they have on you.

Ignoring privacy could also cost you job opportunities. Employers often hire third party companies to look into an applicant’s history before they hire. These companies can get your personal information through the data leaks that happen at big tech companies all the time.

For innovators and business owners another benefit to aiming for privacy is securing ideas and copyright. You wouldn’t want your ideas getting stolen before you’re even finished working on them would you?

Q. What do I have to give up for privacy?

Q. I’m new to privacy, what data does big tech have about me?

A. If you’re new to this then chances are they have everything you’ve ever done on a phone, most of what you’ve done on a computer, and possibly everything you’ve done online on any device in your house.

Smartphones are notorious for data collection. Even the built in texting apps could phone home to Apple or Google with the contents of your messages and we would be none the wiser. Sometimes third party apps you have installed can obtain your text messages and other data they don’t need as well. There are now official initiatives being worked on to combat this but for privacy phones this vulnerability was taken care of years ago. Additionally your cell carrier can see the contents of your sent texts and so can the SMS routing companies because SMS and MMS messages are only encrypted on the way from your phone to the cell tower where the traffic is then decrypted, leaving the plain-text message contents exposed. Recently one such SMS routing company was hacked by an unknown entity for years before it was discovered, causing a massive amount of text messages to get leaked.

Personal computers aren’t safe either and with every update it seems like there is more and more data collection baked into our operating systems. Installing Linux might be the best way to avoid this but Linux really isn’t for everyone and it’s especially not for those without technical knowledge.

If you have proprietary firmware on your home internet router it’s possible everything you’ve done online has been leaked to the router manufacturer. If not that it’s also possible your internet service provider has been logging everything you do as part of their privacy policy and selling it to third parties.

While not perfect https://saymine.com/ can help you find other companies that may have your data.

Q. I’m someone who’s life depends on staying private. Should I be safe with your devices?

Privacy isn’t just for IT experts