Privacy Invasion
Read Time 5 min

Once you enter your personal information over the internet then you can’t escape the new reality that your personal information is being collected and sold in the global market. Polls across the world are showing people are losing control over their personal data. No one is immune from this grab as tech giants have invaded our privacy by using our personal information without informing us. Nothing can be kept hidden as Google’s services are being tracked and the user’s data is stored for commercial purposes. DuckDuckGo initiated a privacy-focused search engine that doesn’t track the people surfing around the internet.

 Australia’s consumer watchdog has suggested major changes in privacy laws to protect consumers. If the recommendations are adopted then it would provide consumers much more control over the data while dealing with Facebook, Google, or any other businesses. This proposal provides the user, right to claim for the erasure of their information whether they are tracked online or offline. In case anyone breaches this law by imposing unfair privacy settings then they will have to pay potential penalties. 

Privacy Concept at this Digital Age

Privacy is all about a choice whether you want to reveal your details or not but the digital age totally disrupted our privacy rights. Every day we encounter a situation where unknowingly we are revealing who we are and what we are doing. When we enter a coffee shop and make an online payment thus we let the bank know we spent $12 at 12 noon on Friday. 

On the way home when we make a call to our family to let them know about our arrival time, thus we let the telecommunication company know our location and the dialed number. Privacy has its own price. If you are comfortable sharing your data and you are getting something in return then don’t mind sharing it. 

Privacy On Stake

                                                                                  Source: Exploree.com

The survey report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) mentioned that the companies are tracking consumer’s information and disclosing it to third parties. The privacy policies of these companies are not at all understandable and there is no choice anyhow you have to accept the terms and conditions.

Organizations like Facebook take up quizzes and gather your information about your family and friends, you can’t do anything everywhere digital eyes are following you. Invisible trackers over the internet collecting information from social networks as much as possible. Every online action has monetary value, such as where we visit, what we eat, or which types of movies we watch. All these data add up to our profile and thus this information helps marketing companies in target advertising. 

Tech Giants Breaching Privacy Policies

Facebook, Google, and many other companies have been exposed, how they are exploiting the data. 

                              Source: The Daily Star

Facebook Penalty

Many users are still unaware of the fact that if you have installed the Facebook app on your device then it can track your online activities even when you log out your account.  Recently, the US Federal Trade Commission(FTC) fined Facebook with US$5 billion as a penalty for misleading users with privacy policies that allow third-party access to personal information. Later, Facebook shares hiked up after the case settlement was approved. 

Medical App Breach 

ACCC encountered a medical appointment app in the Google store that was allegedly misleading the patients and was selling their data to insurance companies. Data companies have data aggregators, data analysts, data brokers who help to trade with personal information. They sort the consumers based on their sensitive details about their health status, lifestyle, political reviews, and much more and sell the list to companies and political parties demanding data. 

Data analytics firm Breach

One of the data analytics firms in the UK gathered data of 87 million people without informing them by using a personality prediction quiz that could access the user profile, likes, location, and data of friends linked to the account. 

Cambridge Analytica Scandal Outcomes

According to Forrester Research analyst, 79 % of US adult citizens started using an online privacy tool to adjust their Facebook privacy settings after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In which experts of the International Association of Privacy professionals claimed Donald Trump collaborated with Facebook for the 2016 presidential election for target advertisement campaigns by tracking voters. However, still, there is no solid legal evidence to justify the allegation.  

Uber’s Penalty

Uber’s God View, a mechanism that allows them to track the real-time geo-location of the customer who booked a ride. Lastly, for this Uber had to pay a fine of $20,000 to the New York Attorney general and it was a remarkable win of privacy.  

“Our own information, from every day to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us every day.” Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple launched a feature called Safari browser which blocks the web trackers from following users online. 

Pokemon Trading Card

A video gaming company Pokemon introduced a game known as Pokemon Go which gained huge popularity in the market and became a trading card for the firm. The company collected data of more than 800 million people including their names and location. They hired a data protection officer and expanded the team to work for the privacy and security of the players. 

The entire industry’s trade and marketing depend upon your personal data- everything from your eating habits to medical conditions. The breaching of personal data can genuinely hamper your lifestyle. 

How can you secure yourselves?

  • Install Adblock Plus
  • HTTPS Installation everywhere
  • Install the extension “Referer Control” to turn off referrers
  • Change your cookie settings, set them to expire once you exit the website

Most importantly don’t share personal information on social media more than the requirement. Try to browse in incognito mode. Always prefer to use different search engines or virtual private networks. Be careful while you clicking a button over the internet and while installing any application in your device. Use good quality antivirus software to secure your device.

Conclusion

Privacy was not considered as an issue until tech giants have invaded it. Thanks to all data abuse scandals and breaches which let the people realize how companies can misuse their data. Platforms like Google and Facebook have become the most convenient way to connect the happenings across the world so that people can surf carelessly without ensuring any security. To see the real changes in the consumer world and to make things better regulations are required to be practiced strictly by the companies. General Data Protection Regulations have made major changes in data privacy settings and pushed tech giants to implement operations according to regulations enforced by the federal administration. Google welcomed and supported comprehensive privacy regulation and overtime changes in privacy policies are expected to be enforced by all companies around the world.