Private but not private

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Mon Oct 04, 2021

Do you think your life is private anymore? How do you define the term “A Private Life”? The answers to these questions would probably be yes, my life is private. You can say, I don’t have many friends on social media, I don’t post stories on snapchat, or I don’t post reels on Instagram etc. Some might even argue that I don’t use social media all together and all these answers are completely relevant but only to a certain extent. Your life might be private from other social media users by not posting stories or pictures of yourself when you went on a trip but the data is not private to those companies of whom you are using the services for free. Yes, you heard me right, your life is private but also not private. I know it is confusing so let me explain.

When you create an Instagram, Facebook, or Amazon account, your data such as email address and contact information if you are using two factor verification method, is stored in the databases of these companies and you might have noticed that before you click register you are required to click the box which says I agree to all the terms and conditions which we normally never read just because your friend uses the services and you have seen nothing gone wrong with him, right? These terms and conditions actually say that the data that is created by the company is owned by the company and has all the rights to do anything with it. This means that when you watch posts on Instagram, the company monitors the posts you are liking and engaging with. Let’s say you like more posts which displays watches, the algorithms that these companies use identifies your interest and show you ads respectively. these algorithms help to use your data to earn revenue in terms of displaying ads. Sometimes the data is also sold to other companies as well.

Let me tell you my experience which recently taught me how my data actually circulates on the internet. One day I decided to buy a watch from Amazon so I was looking for a mechanical automatic watch, after few searches I gave up because I didn’t find a good fit for me so I turned on my Instagram to watch some cute videos of dogs and there I say, after 10 to 15 posts, I was shown an advertisement that focused on watches in specific. I thought this might be coincidence so I ignored them. The next time when I was searching for an article on google, I saw those ads again on websites which were powered by Google ads and at that moment I realized that Amazon sells my data to other companies like Instagram and Google to show me such ads.

This demonstrates how we do have a private life but also, we don’t. You might be wondering if this is legal? And the answer is yes, it is legal. These terms and conditions that companies provide clearly states that the data that they create is their property. Which makes it legal because by clicking that small check box we are agreeing to their terms and conditions. I hope this shows how your data is openly available for the companies to use and how our life is not private anymore.

 

 

 

Appears in
2021 - Fall - Issue 5
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