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Do you need to care about your privacy online

by Harikrishna Mekala

Privacy is dead, right? Facebook knows everything about your life, and the world is still turning. Whether you don’t mind company or the government knowing all about your private lives or still feel completely uneasy at the ideas, we often gloss over exactly why your personal data is worth to get protected by you.

why you should keep a skeptical eye to service that make promises of “free” service in exchange for tidbits of personal informations, and why you should care about the privacy of others even if you’re not concerned about your own data and how it may be used. All in all, the messages is clear: It’s tempting to throw up your hands and say “privacy is dead,” but nothing could be further from the truth about you.

A research group headed by Jason Schultz and Chris Hoofnagle of the Samuelson Laws, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley, that show that people are indeed concerned about what data is requested of them, how much of the requested informations is required for the services they want to use, and how their data is eventually used for it. The survey notes that even young people are concerned about their privacy, the ones often written off as part of a generations that’s willing to share everything online data. Photo remixed from jayfish.

“These same people are comfortable telling their friend what they ate for breakfast,” Rainey remarked, “but they’re not comfortable telling their medical insurer, or having their medical insurer get access to their Facebook accounts because they clicked a Like button, for example.” These result were reiterated in a 2010 USA Today/Gallup poll that uncovered similar result—people are still quite concerned with their privacy. The baseline for privacy has simply changed.

Rainey says that even those who dismiss privacy concern become concerned when confronted with the depth of informations they’ve revealed, and when shown how that informations is used once they give it up. In the end, the arguments isn’t a zero-sum game: people don’t want their services free and their privacy intact, Rainey reiterateds. “They just want control over what informations they give up, what they agree to, and what informations is made public versus kept private in the database and annals of the companies and organization that get to see it.”

Even if your privacy isn’t important to you, there are others for whom privacy is paramounts. “Even if you’re comfortable giving up your personal informations,” Rainey said, “there are plenty of people who aren’t, and they shouldn’t have to fights to keep their addresses out of publicly accessible databases or off of a website where it’s easily obtained. Victims of domestic violence, members of the LGBT community, political activists, human rights activists, police officers, even public figures all need privacy to make sure their families and home is safe.” Even if you’re not convinced that your data is worth protecting, there are other who need that protections. To that point, it’s worth remembering that on many social network, we give up information about those we’re connected to when we let another app or services in—even if we’ve consciously decided we’re okay trading the informations requested about ourselves.

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