Privacy vs Convenience

Human nature in the digital age is at risk. We have made the switch from maintaining an anonymous online persona to willingly giving websites personal information. These companies seem to make our lives easier with their services, but at what cost? Questions aren’t being raised because we are entertained. This saturation of convenience grants ignorance to the user and that ignorance is transformed into revenue by Big Tech. And now…online cues can lead to a change in real world behavior and is successfully done by bypassing user awareness. In other words, these economies of action engineer our behavior for commercial gain, creating surveillance capitalism. We see this with targeted advertising based on conversations that were held out loud that the extremely powerful microphone on our person picks up, analyzes, and tells us that we should, in fact, purchase that car that was briefly mentioned in passing. This is allowed because there is currently no alliance between technology and government.

We are spied on. We are tracked. Awareness of the issue is simply not enough.

We have all known that the “internet is forever” for a while now. But we have become too complacent and uninformed as to what is actually happening with our information.

Fully understanding the implications of the mass spread and economy of what we believe to be ours is needed. It’s unfortunate that we have been conditioned to believe that only some of our data is valuable, when in fact most of it can generate a cash flow for whatever company the information is digitally being fed to. Google is simply the best because it offers a wide range of services that are free. No money is exchanged, but our data that we have given up for a free, convenient entity is harvested and sold and then sold and then sold and then sold again. And nobody wants to take responsibility when personal information has been leaked or stolen. Are we supposed to accept this as our digital future?

I believe in the future of technology and its integration into everyday human life. But I refuse to surrender my privacy for convenience. Digital self defense for the security of our communications is needed and the time to implement certain practices is now. Tiny changes as small as using a different browser can be intimidating and pointless at first but ultimately powerful enough to shrink your digital footprint by reducing the amount of information that is collected.

Here’s a list of my tried and trues: software that I highly recommend for anyone interested in beginning the journey of taking control of their data.

  • The Tor Browser – surfing the web anonymously 
  • Brave Browser – surfing the web anonymously while earning crypto
  • Malwarebytes – just a great anti virus program
  • ProtonVPN – VPN based out of Switzerland 
  • ProtonMail – totally encrypted email 
  • DuckDuckGo – search engine
  • Notion – replacement for Google Docs
  • NextCloud – replacement for Google Drive is also a great resource with tons of links to user voted replacements to any service that Google has to offer.