Online Privacy

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | April 10th, 2015

Here is an interesting TED talk that should make you think:

Andy Yen: Think your email’s private? Think again – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbkB_jNG-zE

Hopefully you are aware that every email you send is sent publically, allowing anyone to read it and without any guarantee of delivery. As Andy notes in his talk, an email is more like a postcard than a letter. Now, because emails are public they are able to be ‘scraped’ by others for information. Even though individual email information may appear innocuous, taken in aggregate it can provide a very good insight into who you are and what your preferences are.

This ‘scraped’ information can then be utilised by large online businesses such as Google and Yahoo for advertising. Some would welcome better targeting of advertisements but others see it as an unwelcome intrusion of their privacy. This is where the debate gets interesting, because as Andy again notes, the digital information you are now creating will most likely last forever. What ramification will that have on your privacy?

As the talk indicates, this may be the last generation that actually knows what privacy is but is that a good or a bad thing? That’s the interesting part of the debate. The problem is that once we have lost our privacy, it will be gone forever. So if we want to keep it, then we need to make up our minds now and do something about it.

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