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Reasons Why Data Privacy Matters by@emmag

Reasons Why Data Privacy Matters

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Emma Davis Hacker Noon profile picture

Emma Davis

Emma Davis has loved tech since she was a little girl. She is fascinated with the evergrowing & everchanging tech world.

Data privacy has been all the talk in the tech sector as of late. With the emergence of smartphones over a decade ago, our entire lives have been put online. Our behaviors and thoughts have been monitored not just through Facebook status updates, but through applications and browser tracking page visits, link clicks, and google searches. Everything we do on our phones is recorded and collected as data used for a variety of purposes from personal safety to advertising. In recent months, data privacy, or rather a lack thereof, has come to the forefront of tech conversations. With Apple launching an increased effort to protect users’ privacy, the personal data world as we know is about to change.

Not Your Mom’s Cookies

Have you ever wondered how your ads on various web pages know exactly what you like? Or how Amazon knows exactly what purchase to suggest next? All of this is due to data collected on your phone that goes by the term cookies. A cookie is a small text file from a website you visit that attaches to your browser.

This cookie contains information about you like your sex, age, location, email address, and other personal information. Marketers and advertisers can use this information to push target advertisements and content catered to you and your preferences. As consumers, we use cookies for more than we think we do, and they can actually be quite convenient. Your computer uses cookies when it auto-fills personal information when you’re checking out online or when it remembers which web pages you typically visit.

Cookies in 2021

While cookies have been around for quite some time, users have begun to question just how much data they have access to. There has been a recent push in protecting user data and data privacy. Because of this, tech giants like Apple and Google have taken steps to reduce the amount of data applications and browsers have access to. Their smartphones now prompt users to choose which platforms are allowed to track their online behaviors.

This severely limits the access that businesses and advertisers can have to large sums of personal data. So you might be wondering, is increased data privacy all good? Like all things, it has its upsides and downsides and boils down to personal preference.

Pros of Increased Data Privacy

  1. Increased Security. For the most part, the more privacy you have, the more secure you are. By keeping a majority of our data private, personal information that may contain sensitive content is less likely to be spread. This is particularly true for saved bank accounts, credit card numbers, and even medical information.
  2. Increased Transparency. When businesses have to request access to certain sets of information, as users we are more aware of what they need. Before increased data privacy, it was unclear just how much content these organizations were gaining access to. With these extra filters in data tracking, where our data goes is far more transparent.
  3. Protection of Children. Around the world, a child accesses the internet every half second. While they’re online, they may visit chat rooms, surf the web, or go on social networking sites. Being online makes them vulnerable to cyberbullying, predators, or inappropriate content. Limiting access to their personal information can help them avoid falling victim to any of these threats.

Cons of Increased Data Privacy

  1. Decrease in Convenience. For many people, cookies are convenient. Saved information saves time, stress, and energy when working on the internet. Some people really like that their browsers know their behaviors. With increased privacy, the convenience of cookies reduces significantly. The assumptions and recommendations that your browser could once make may no longer be accessible.
  2. Less Personalization. Similar to convenience, cookies offer a very personalized internet experience. Spotify song suggestions, online shopping ads, and Amazon recommendations are all due to cookies. An increase in privacy takes this experience away. Increased data privacy results in much less customization.
  3. Cybercrimes. Though very intelligent, the internet is not bulletproof. As users, we are susceptible to hackers trying to get our personal information. In our current internet environment, it is already rather difficult to catch cybercriminals. With massive internet changes happening all at once, antivirus apps may not be fast enough in updating their software, leaving cracks for these criminals to break through and steal data.

Bottom Line

The topic of data privacy has been hotly debated with advocates on either side. With many people pushing for increased privacy, Google and Apple have yielded to their requests. This new age cookie crackdown will change the way both users and businesses use the internet.

Ultimately whether increased data protection is good or bad is up to personal preference. Some people simply care less about who has access to their information, while others prefer to keep it safeguarded. In time, there is no doubt that data privacy will evolve even more. What is interesting is how we will adapt to its changes.

Emma Davis Hacker Noon profile picture
by Emma Davis @emmag.Emma Davis has loved tech since she was a little girl. She is fascinated with the evergrowing & everchanging tech world.
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