Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop…Even If We Should Stop

In 2018, our eyes remained glued to our phones, our fingertips to our keyboards, and our minds to the digital trance that results from the images and messages that move across our screens. The mantra for this generation shall be “in technology we trust,” as we worship and praise the devices we grasp so tightly in the palms of our hands. We place all of our deep, dark secrets and personal information in the social media sites, networking profiles, and magazine subscriptions, to receive their services. So, what’s the catch?

—your privacy—

When we create an Instagram account, whether it be a finsta or rinsta, we press ‘agree’ on the “Terms and Conditions” page that pops up because ultimately, we must be connected, and we cannot afford the time to read the entire novel displayed on the screen. However, do you we really know what we are committing to? When you agree to those conditions, you are permitting a lot more than you think. Your photos, your personal information, and your posts on any social media sites are then partially-owned by the big media companies and the groups they are affiliated with. Companies can be very sneaky in gathering your personal information. Leslie Heyer and her team have worked together in creating a family-planning application called “Dot,” and in her article, “Who Really Owns Your Data in the Digital Era? (Hint: Probably Not You),” she announces the fallacies of other fertility applications:

“Our product predicts a user’s daily odds of pregnancy with minimal data; that’s by design. We want to keep things simple, and we don’t want women’s data. Many fertility apps request sensitive information like weight, height, age, medical history, exercise and diet, claiming that they will “personalize” your experience or “improve accuracy.” If this describes you or your partner’s fertility app, be careful.

Usually, that data won’t benefit your experience or sharpen your algorithms. What’s more, app makers can turn around and sell your superfluous data to third parties like advertising platforms. Or, they can stockpile data in hopes of monetizing it one day.”

However, now that you are reading this post and are hearing the untold truths about the mysterious “terms and conditions” that appear on your screens, are you going to hit “agree” when you subscribe to a new application? Are you still going to enter your personal information? Probably. Ultimately, our desire to remain connected is of a higher priority than maintaining the privacy of our personal information. The data usage among today’s generations is rapidly increasing as more technological advances are being created and utilized. The truth: we can’t stop.

We hunch over at our laptops and stare at our screens like we can afford the blurred vision, the neck aches, the joint issues, and back pain that lays ahead of us. There is an obsession with merging our “real-selves” with our “digital-selves,” as we subscribe to numerous social media sites and networking sites. Therefore, as you eat up the content that gives your “digital-self” more dimension, the application eats up the personal information that comprises your “real-self.” Tim Chamber’s article, “Who Owns the Digital You?” elaborates on this idea:

“At this moment, there is a quiet “identity war” going on for this ownership of the “digital-you.” A battle for your likes and your links — your interests, your passions, your information, everything about the “digital-you” that is public or that the combatants in this war help make public. And the spoils of this war are great: the central business model of most of the information marketplace right now is about offering you “free” services in exchange for information, giving up what was formerly nobody’s business but your own.”

As the information we share increases, the privacy and protection we maintain for our identities decreases. This inverse relationship is one we now acknowledge, but will it be acted upon and changed in the future? I don’t think so. Ultimately, our need for technology is in such high demand in the digital society we live in. With the data usage increase, we are bound to lose ownership of our personal information: Is the loss of connectivity and communication for the sake of our personal information worth the risk?


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