Trading Privacy

// Posted by on 05/30/2015 (11:01 AM)

Everyday we make the choice to trade privacy for convenience; we swipe a finger and pay for a purchase, ask Siri for directions, and allow others to track us. We monitor our driving habits and compare the results with strangers for lower insurance rates. The instant gratification, cost savings, and seamless experiences, leave behind a digital trail that reveals a lot about us. Thus, creating a massive public web of data to be extracted. These conveniences create a matrix that can and probably will be used against us; we just don’t know it yet.

It is easy to limit the data and information that we put out there but once that data is forfeited there is no taking it back. Daily American’s trade privacy for functionality and the actual cost of the trade is ambiguous. Right now there is no real impact with the trade, many people are fine with networks using their search habits and other information to tailor ads that are more relevant. This is the now but what about the tomorrow, the actual cost of trading could look very different in the future. I wonder how long will it be before a company thinks up a truly offensive way to use the information and when this happens I wonder if people will still feel that the trade was worth it. My guess is that until then, there will not be a big push for privacy protection. So the responsibility to keep our information private will be our own.

To keep information private while surfing the web many browsers have add-ons that identify the sites that track your activity and then transmit the data to third parties without your knowledge. Here are two that I found that allow you to opt out:

Adblock Plus – Free: blocks tracking, malware domains, banners, popups and video ads even on Facebook and YouTube.

Ghostery – Free: provides online transparency and control to individuals.

Know Privacy is also a great site that shows the current state of web privacy and information sharing. The key findings indicate that people are concerned about the data that is requested, how much data is required for the services that are wanted, and how that data is being used. Here is the link:

In the end, knowing the cost of the trade is important and it is essential that people take control over the information they give up and know what information is being surrendered to public and private databases. I don’t necessarily think that privacy is a thing of the past, I just think that it now takes due diligence to maintain it.

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Kindall said...

Jessie, interesting post! I had no idea that “Know Privacy” existed, but I am excited to start checking it regularly.

I think you make a great point about the fact that, while we know our privacy is perhaps being violated, we also have tools at our disposal to thwart those efforts.

This is part of the national conversation about internet privacy rights, and I think it is so important that people’s eyes be opened to the options available to protect themselves.

Thank you for sharing this information! I certainly think that we if the government wants our data trail… they can easily go around any effort we have taken to prevent them… but there is something almost poetic about knowing that and still creating these tools to resist them.

// 05/30/2015 at 11:58 am

Ginger said...


My friends and I were at lunch yesterday and I noticed a segment on one of the TVs on the wall. It was on MSNBC and they were asking viewer if they would give up privacy for security. Of course this piqued my interest because of our class so I went back to work and tried to find the post on MSNBC. I was not successful, but it did make me think. What would I rather be, safe or have my information be private.

When I first started at U of R a professor brought up a question regarding airlines; would you rather have your bag and person searched or would you rather maintain your privacy? I know that an airplane and the internet are not the same, but if the intent of the NRC is to keep us safe what is the issue with having our bags gone through so to speak?

Thank you for the links to Adblock and Ghostery. I will check those out.

// 05/30/2015 at 8:23 pm

Shirley said...

Great post and very informative. Thanks for the helpful tips though I doubt many will not take the time to use them. There has to be a way to have my cake and eat it too without jumping through too many hoops. Heck I still write down my passwords so that I will not forget. As long as people like Portnoy and Assange are in business no one, government, big business or the average citizen is safe… in my opinion.

// 05/30/2015 at 9:53 pm