Privacy Day promotes the fundamental principles of being able to control your personal information and to raise awareness of the risks in our digital society. The advancement and adoption of communication technology have elevated this issue to a worldwide problem.
A casualty of the digital revolution has been our privacy. In recent years, consumers’ insatiable desire for convenience, efficiency, and speed has led to a willingness to disclose their identities, purchases, location, personal preferences, interests, communications, and social interactions to the digital world. Corporations have been happy to collect, aggregate, and analyze the data for their advantage and profit. Unscrupulous governments have leveraged the vast amount of information to profile people based upon their interests, views, location, and political alignment. Regardless of who possesses it, access to a treasure trove of private data facilitates both direct and indirect manipulation.
Privacy data is used in marketing to encourage sales, to change political perspectives, shift opinions, manipulate prices, isolate, threaten, cajole, extort, and even to quantify a value for individuals. Access to personal data unlocks many dark possibilities, including fear which has the ability to suppress free speech and independence.
Privacy is one of the most important rights to maintain a free and open society. Without privacy, people become fearful of saying what is on their mind, expressing themselves, reporting unethical behaviors, or criticizing those in power. Our ability to choose what others know about us grants individuals some semblance of control in how they can be swayed by others. Actively protecting our private data is key.
Privacy is a complicated problem but the perceptions and expectations are changing for the better. Privacy Day plays a part in bringing the conversation to the forefront so people can talk about the risks and opportunities. People are recognizing the importance of protecting their private information.
This is leading to beneficial behavior changes, forcing more transparency in data collection and use, and establishing accountability for businesses to adhere to regulatory controls. Through popular support, new regulations are being established, even when facing powerful opposition by companies who benefit from collecting and selling data. Unfortunately, regulations don’t protect everyone and remain inconsistent across the globe. The fight for privacy is still far from over, but positive changes are being made when people talk about privacy risks.
Privacy matters to everyone. You cannot have liberty without privacy. If it is not defended, personal information will be leveraged to the detriment of individuals and society. We all must actively engage to advocate and protect the principles of digital privacy.