Technology has indeed transformed our lives, for better or for worse. The perks of living in today’s digital age can’t be denied, though at the same time, it is difficult to ignore the privacy concerns that it has given birth to. Everyone is compelled to choose between the continued use of technology and enjoying the perks, or distancing themselves from it until it becomes more secure.
Taking convenience to new heights
We have indeed made an intentional choice of letting technology root itself deeply into our lives for a simple and obvious reason, convenience.
It is rare to come across someone these days who isn’t registered on some social networking website, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+. Such websites have made it extremely easy to interact and share stuff with family, friends and even an audience that may be sitting in the opposite end of the globe.
If there was still any barrier to communication left standing, the advent of VoIP and instant messaging services have brought it down completely. With majority of these services being free of cost, at least to some extent, the convenience to communicate with anyone, anywhere and at any time, has indeed shot up to an unprecedented level.
Further injecting comfort into our lives, technology makes it possible to shop right from the comfort of one’s living room. Even though the brick-and-mortar businesses don’t appear to be disappearing anytime soon, digital marketplaces are expanding at a swift pace. Online shopping is quick, easy and secure.
Paying the price for convenience
As mentioned earlier, nearly everything of some value in life comes with price tag and unfortunately, technology is no exception to it.
If you think that the free social networking websites that you use respect your privacy, think again. At the time of registration, you are asked to submit your personal information, which includes but is not limited to your age, gender and location. You may also be asked to share your fields of interests in some instances. Some social networking websites such as Facebook can and in fact are using this information to display targeted third-party ads on your screen with the intention of getting you to click the link.
The VoIP and instant messaging services do not make your communications snoop-proof either. In the case of relatively low-end VoIP services, the communication is not encrypted, which leaves it wide open to eavesdropping until it enters the analog phone network. Some services such as Skype are known to encrypt communications, though it is not an end-to-end encryption.
The same holds true for instant messaging services. It is not only possible to intercept the data transmitted through such services using a phone tracking software, but also possible to decrypt encrypted communications, as is seen in the case of WhatsApp. It is hard to say if the VoIP and instant messaging services lack the will or the capability to cover these security holes. For now, users of such services have no choice but to either live with these vulnerabilities, or simply let go of their privacy concerns.
People who use the Internet for shopping are also forced to make a compromise on their privacy due to tracking cookies, which are used to compile records of user’s browsing history. If a potential buyer had purchased something from the website in the past, its record is also saved for future reference. When they visit the website again, the tracking cookies are used for their interests and their previous purchases, if any, to suggest items that are in line with their known interests.
The privacy issues associated with the growing use of technology have been identified and this has been a hot topic for debate for quite some time now, but so far, no company has been successful in the development of a fool-proof security protocol. You, along with everyone else, will eventually have to make a choice between privacy and convenience because the two simply don’t go hand in hand, at least not yet.
As online marketers and the go to experts in all things digital to your respected schools it’s very important to understand the privacy that is being given up through online communications. These free tools are never as free as they appear. Even if this doesn’t ultimately affect decisions that are made on a regular basis, understanding the consequences of these additional conveniences is something that should never be taken for granted.