Technology, Philosophy, & Sometimes Both

Thoughts on the World by Jack Umano

Why Privacy Matters

with 3 comments

Many seem confused about why privacy matters.  People say, “I don’t care if some company knows about me and gives me more targeted ads. I have nothing to hide.”  Here’s some reasons why you should care.

There are bad people.  Keeping private data from bad individuals is the main concern and this is the main thing people forget.  Yes, Big companies truly do want to use your info simply to make money.  They have no plans to misuse the data.  But, there are many dis-honest people in the world.  There are dis-honest people in that big company that has your data.  With thousands of employees, there are definitely some bad people.  Bad individuals can and will abuse the extra power they have over people. 

Companies are consolidating too much power over you.  By collecting your name, address, billing info, location data, and preferences, these big companies are collecting information that bad people could abuse.  Identity theft becomes much more devastating when a criminal has so much info about you.  They have much more than just a credit card number.

Someday you may care about location data.  There are probably many scenarios that you never imagined for people taking advantage of your lack of privacy.  Maybe someday…

  • Your daughter breaks up with a guy.  He starts stalking her.  He works for Facebook.  He always knows where she is.
  • You get in a car accident.  It was that guy’s fault and you prove it to the courts.  But he swears it was your fault and is irate.  He works for AT&T.  Your phone reports where you are at all times.  That guy plots his revenge.
  • You apply for a job.  You’re amazingly qualified think you’re gonna get it.  The potential employer has a brother who works for Google.  He can tell by your location data that you belong to a church he doesn’t like.  No job offer comes.
  • You think your neighbor is being abused by her husband.  You suggest she check out the woman’s shelter across town.  The husband finds the location data on her phone and sees that she went there, and gives her a look that says, “oh you’re in for it now.”

Don’t wait until some scenario comes up where you need privacy.  Help all those who do.  Secrecy doesn’t always mean you’re doing something wrong as is illustrated in the examples above.

Data gets leaked.  If your private info is collected, it will be compromised.  Sooner or later databases get hacked.  If hackers can get into the Pentagon computer systems, they can get into Facebook’s if they really want to.  And when big companies start really consolidating large amounts of info about a lot of people, that database honeypot starts to look sweeter and sweeter.

Here’s an analogy: You probably wouldn’t give all your neighbors a copy of your bank account passwords.  They’re all good people but, you don’t really know them all that well.   And … they would store it safely, wouldn’t they?  Well, maybe it’s better to just keep it to yourself.


Written by Jack Umano

May 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Philosophy, Technology

3 Responses

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  1. A very informative and relevant post, thanks! I was thinking about this only yesterday when I realised how many companies ask for such details on a regular basis. Despite being a massive Tech head I do see how we need to be far more careful.


    May 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

  2. Case in point: today’s article in the Wall Street Journal about a Facebook Security Flaw exposing user accounts.

    Jack Umano

    May 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  3. […] your privacy.  And if you’re still wondering why this is important, see my previous post on why privacy matters. Share this:EmailDiggTwitterFacebookStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeOne blogger likes this […]

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