Hey Alexa, Are You Protecting My Data?

How much do you value your internet privacy?  

study by a digital marketing agency called Blue Fountain Media asked over a thousand men and women this simple question.   

Ninety percent of the respondents reported being concerned about the privacy of their data online, but when asked more specific questions about the actions they were taking to protect their internet privacy, the answers were contradictory. 

Sixty-five percent of the respondents said they do not read the terms and conditions of the applications they use, and many were unsure if they would delete an application from their phone if they knew it was tracking their location. 

Why is this? Why do we say we value the privacy of our data but take minimal steps to protect it? 

Why are We not Protecting our Internet Privacy? 

The answer is convenience.  

As a society, we have come to prioritize convenience and ease of access over most other things. Facebook has often been exposed for its data breach policies. Despite this, Facebook has over over 2.6 billion monthly active users of all ages from all over the world. In addition, Facebook-owned social media apps like WhatsApp and Instagram each have over 1 billion users. 

How many times have you heard stories of how Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri starts talking to you completely unprompted? Or how your Facebook feed starts showing ads for dog beds the day after you were talking to your mom on the phone about it? 

We call it weird and creepy, but what do we do about it? Nothing. Because why surpass the ability to find out who the third president of Argentina was without even having to use your hands! 

In January 2019, Amazon reported having sold over 100 million Alexa products, and Apple was worth more than $1.3 trillion at the end of 2019. 

We know someone somewhere is using our data to do something, but instead of running away from this technology because of this fear of the unknown, we are welcoming it with open arms.  

And that might just be the right thing to do. 

What is the Advantage of Giving Up Privacy? 

Here is why it might not be the scariest thing to give up some part of your privacy: personalized content.  

Yes, Facebook sometimes shows you very specific ads for things you want, but why does that have to be a bad thing? 

If you’re 20-something single, professional woman, would you want to see relevant ads such as deals at your local bar, or would you rather see ads for children’s toys? 

Newer forms of technology pick up on your habits, actions, and interests so they can provide content that works best for you. With work, family, money, and time constraints, your life is probably packed and busy anyway. Social media and other internet content are supposed to be a respite from these mundane stressors.  

Think about it: Would you really feel like going on the internet if the content wasn’t tailored to you at all? Or if you had to jump through hoops to actively seek out enjoyable content? 

Social media often seems mindless, and that’s because it is meant to do just that! 

It is meant to help you relax and save your brainpower for more important things in life, like figuring out the name of the third president of Argentina.