3 key predictions about internet privacy in the future
The digital age has brought with it unprecedented access to both information and services. New technologies such as big data analytics and the Internet of things are constantly improving and making life easier for everyone.
Big data analytics, for instance, is the technology behind predictive analysis which gives companies a competitive advantage. IoT, on the other hand, is the technology behind smart homes.
However, despite the advantages, it is crucial to understand that the cost of ever-improving technology is the loss of privacy. Today, people provide a massive amount of data to corporations without considering what these corporations are doing with the data. Elsewhere, governments are at the forefront imposing heavy surveillance.
Such happenings raise the question, what does the future hold for internet privacy?
1. Surveillance is bound to expand and deepen its reach
After Edward Snowden revealed how US and UK agencies were complicit in mass surveilling innocent citizens, it ceased being a debate and became a fact that governments were surveilling their citizens.
It is now obvious that the majority of governments have their own surveillance systems to spy on citizens in the name of preventing terrorism or national security. The issue is largely divisive, and many non-profit organizations are on the rise as they attempt to fight for privacy and prevent the government from spying on its people.
However, some people also insist that security will always triumph privacy every time. Wherever your stand, one thing is for sure, as terrorist acts rise, mass surveillance is bound to expand.
2. Data mining is the new oil drilling
In this day and age, people are constantly providing Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other organizations with a massive amount of data without thinking twice about it. No one takes the time to read the privacy or user agreement to know what these organizations are doing with the data. Most are not educated about the risk of leaving data trails, but not only does it subject you to targetted ads, but it also aids algorithms to profile you at your expense. In extreme cases, you could be denied credit or personal loans based on completely historic purchases that hint on negative personality traits.
At the moment, the world is at a juncture where personal privacy is almost zero, and personal data seems to be some sort of currency.
As technology continues to explode and as the benefits of massive amounts of data increases, data collection is bound to increase. In turn, it will completely obliterate privacy.
3. Most will forego privacy for convenience
No doubt emerging technologies bring with them a lot of advantages. Cloud computing, for instance, it eliminates the need for physical servers, it makes it less costly to manage company data, it is fast and easy to set up, and it is safer for data thanks to the backups of backups that cloud service providers tend to have.
However, cloud computing means all your data is online thus eliminating any appearance of privacy. Take another example, using DuckDuckGo which is an anonymous search engine. It is private, for sure, but unlike Google, it will not give you personalized results.
As a result, though many understand the perils of loss of privacy, they will still choose to sacrifice privacy for convenience.
That said, what steps should you take to guarantee privacy?
There is a feeling among experts that in the future, the only way to guarantee privacy will be to live completely offline. While this might be true, it is essential to note there are less extreme steps you can take in a bid to work towards a future with private internet.
To start with, you can look into privacy-oriented tools. Such tools include anonymous search engines like the DuckDuckGo mentioned above. Anonymous search engines do not track your searches which means no one can deduce information about you by checking what you search for when browsing.
Another tool is private browsers. Private browsers do not store caches or history which someone can then access later. That means your browsing history, and the sites your most frequent are completely private.
Finally, you can make a point of subscribing to a VPN. A Virtual Private Network encrypts all your communications over the internet ensuring you are safe from mass surveillance. Moreover, with VPN, organizations cannot collect data about you because they cannot tell what you are doing.