The problem of data privacy is one of the most worrying topics for modern people since technology and the Internet is used in almost all areas of people’s lives. For the same reason, it is questionable if a person should use social networks and electronic devices, even though his or her private information may be used by someone else. The most logical answer is yes, it is worth it because technologies bring a great benefit, while data that can be used to harm a person is quite limited.
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The first argument for the use of technology is its undoubted benefit. Almost all people can note in their own lives at least several advantages of using the Internet, for example, shopping, making an appointment with a doctor, educating, submitting documents, or paying bills. Even a routine search for information without technologies takes several times longer since libraries have a limited amount of books and are at a distance.
Besides, modern technologies are not limited to computers and smartphones since they are also used in medicine at a professional and user level. For example, the Apple Watch saved a man after a bicycle accident when he lost consciousness far from people, and the watch sent a signal to 911 to report about the man’s fall and location (Brito, 2019). There are also many other examples on the Internet in which technology has helped detect health problems.
Moreover, computer programs and even simple social networks help people stay socially active or develop their abilities. Various programs are often used to improve skills in children and adults with mental, visual, and auditory impairments, and they can be used both in specialized training centers and at home. For example, audiobooks allow people with vision problems to study literature, and films and videos with subtitles help people with hearing impairments enjoy cinema.
Besides, according to Chopik (2016), social networks and technologies also help older people reduce the feeling of loneliness as they can find friends online and chat with them, even if their mobility is limited. This fact can also be applied to adults and adolescents as they can find support on the Internet or keep in touch with friends and relatives from other cities and countries. Consequently, the use of technology brings many positive results.
However, data privacy is an issue that worries many users. It is worth exploring the topic of collecting and using data to reduce the fear of losing personal information. The most common data collection option is cookies or tracking user activity on a web page. This process occurs so that business owners can analyze customers’ requests, improve service, and target content or advertising (Aziz & Telang, 2016). In other words, the site takes information from a web page about user activities and then offers recommendations according to this information.
Sometimes, this feature is annoying, but on the other hand, it is quite useful. For example, Netflix users know how helpful recommendations are for movies and TV shows because they reduce the time of searching. In addition, many sites request permission to receive cookies, and the display of advertising can be customized. There are also extensions that block or hide advertisements or an incognito feature in any browser that does not store search data. Therefore, data collection is not dangerous for people since it is aimed at improving the service.
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It is also worth considering the types of data that technical devices collect. The programs used for advertising usually pick primary demographic data, as well as open search history, and automatically transfers it to the server and then back to the user’s screen (Aziz & Telang, 2016).
Devices such as fitness bracelets and electronic watches read a person’s activity to collect statistics that are available only to him or her. In general, this data cannot reveal the secrets of a person and cannot be used against him or her since it is common. In addition, many people unintentionally leave information about themselves in open access regularly by marking the place of work, putting geolocation in photos, and other personal data. If a person does not want the search history to remain on the network, he or she will clear or hide this data.
On the other hand, there is a risk of hacking such devices and applications that may contain important and compromising data. For example, an attacker can gain access to Google glasses, which, without the owner’s knowledge, records an image or a messenger that stores personal correspondence (Ching & Singh, 2016). However, both of these options are technologically complex and require skills, so hacking the pages of a random person is an unprofitable and illogical move. In addition, hacking is a crime, so a person must have strong motives to steal data and use it. It is also worth noting that the availability of information to the government is sometimes an advantage for society.
Even if special services can access it, they do it not for fun or interest but to keep the physical safety of people, or rather intercept terrorist messages. If the users are still afraid of their data, then they can use protected applications, for example, Telegram has an encryption system that does not allow unauthorized persons to read messages (“Russia to block Telegram,” 2018). Thus, the potential risk of using personal data against a person is quite low.
In conclusion, even though the risk for the collection of data exists for each person, their use for harm is low. Data is most often collected by business companies only to analyze their own activities and success but against their clients. In addition, if a person needs to find out specific information about another person and use it against her or him, then he will find any ways to get it. Technology brings significant benefits to humanity, and most people can no longer imagine their life without the Internet, a smartphone, and other gadgets. For this reason, using technology is worth the potential loss of privacy, just as driving a car worth a little chance of an accident.
Aziz, A., & Telang, R. (2016). What is a digital cookie worth? SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.
Brito, C. (2019) Man credits this Apple Watch feature for helping save his father. CBS News. Web.
Ching, K. W., & Singh, M. M. (2016). Wearable technology devices security and privacy vulnerability analysis. International Journal of Network Security & Its Applications, 8(3), 19–30.
Chopik, W. J. (2016). The benefits of social technology use among older adults are mediated by reduced loneliness. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19(9), 551–556.
Russia to block Telegram app over encryption. (2018). BBC News. Web.