The Value of Your Personal Information Nowadays
Almost without realizing it, we’ve ended up living in a society where the famous Big Brother metaphor prevails. We’re always being watched pretty much everywhere we go. But not only that, our personal information has also become something countless businesses, people, and institutions have access to without us even knowing it.
Our personal information is being sold and bought every day. From the moment we go online, there are systems that gather all the information about what we do, what we look for, why, when and how, what we buy, and what we don’t. They pretty much gather information about how we behave.
What do they do with our personal information? We don’t know exactly. We know they use it commercially because some of our information is sold to certain companies we’re potential clients of. Then they implement specific marketing strategies, depending on the interests they’ve detected we have. However, many people speculate that governments also access this information to keep tabs on the population.
Nothing’s free on the Internet
Personal information is so valuable that, in exchange, we’re offered a whole set of services that appear to be free. For example, search engines. Anyone can use them “for free”, but that’s actually not the case. In reality, we pay them with our personal data.
The same thing goes for social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram don’t charge a penny in order to use their platforms. However, they’re always recollecting information, including private information. And they don’t just do this out of curiosity. They do it because our information has a commercial value.
At the beginning it might seem like an equitable transaction, right? These companies should get something in return for the use of their services. The downside is that this has several problematic aspects. First and foremost, we don’t really know what they’ll be using our personal data for. Secondly, they could manipulate us in a very subtle, almost impossible-to-detect kind of way.
Personal data and conditioning
They say people used to be tortured in order to get confidential information out of them. Now we just simply share our information over the Internet. We may not realize it, but every single photo of ourselves, our relatives, or our friends gives out information about us. Every single event we make public provides valuable data in a commercial, political, and military way.
There’s something called “cookies“ on every single website, including social media platforms. Cookies are installed on our devices and are in charge of tracking what we do online. Even if we delete them frequently, they continue to operate. Sometimes cookies activate randomly and can access our personal photos and videos. When we accept cookies, we’re basically stating we’re okay with all of this.
Social media platforms define our behavior patterns based on all of this information. If they know you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll probably see a lot of random information on trips. Of course, there are mechanisms that will filter all the information that appears on your device. They don’t necessarily offer you the best. They just show you the information of the companies that have paid for it.
The latent risks
Social media platforms organize the data they collect from your personal information. Based on it, they deduce our commercial and social behavior. They deduce who are the people we interact the most with. That’s why they always show us certain people’s information before others’. They start classifying us and organizing our world based on our online activity.
We shouldn’t forget that there are many bad-intentioned people who know how to give value to our personal information. They also analyze the whole cost-opportunity relationship. Without noticing it, we often give information about our transactions, our financial condition, or other information that makes us vulnerable and at risk of being taken advantage of. There are worse cases in which they keep up with certain children or teenagers’ behaviors, turning them into potential victims.
To conclude, we should start being more careful when it comes to sharing our personal information. Let’s accept cookies only in safe sites. In addition, we shouldn’t share everything about our lives on social media platforms. They’re a great way to communicate with other people, but we shouldn’t expose sensitive data.
“Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn’t be the price we accept just for getting on the Internet.”