Does Anyone Care About Their Privacy Anymore?
Many people act like their personal privacy doesn’t matter. They post all kinds of information about themselves on social media sites like Facebook, including names and pictures of immediate family and vacation plans. They even post their birth date and pictures of their family, including their children. They don’t think twice about how this information might be used against them to steal their identities or burglarize their homes when they are away or for some other nefarious purpose.
Is it that people don’t care about their privacy anymore? Or do they not realize the risks of this information getting into the hands of the wrong people? Sharing personal and family information can lead to unintended consequences, and we need to be careful about over-sharing it. Even when we provide personal information to legitimate websites, like Facebook or Instagram, it can be compromised without our knowledge through cyberattacks or by the companies that own these websites and want to sell it for profit or to use it in some other way to benefit themselves.
We may worry a bit about privacy when we realize that our smart TV may be listening to us or watching us. We may read a story about smart speakers like Echo Alexa listening to us and sharing what they hear. Or we may read an article about how the content of our emails and texts and our location might become compromised.
Many of us are willing to give up a little privacy in return for benefits that we believe are useful and that we have become accustomed to. We want to tell Alexa to turn on the lights and to play our favorite music, even if Alexa might be listening to us from time to time. We get used to these smart devices being around us and at our beck and call, and we take their presence for granted and welcome their help, even if some of our privacy may be sacrificed.
Maybe we are so cavalier about protecting our privacy because we don’t know how to do so without limiting the social media and other capabilities that we depend on. Perhaps we think it’s just too much trouble to worry about privacy all the time. But, in part, because so much attention has been focused on protecting our privacy in the media and by governments, especially in Europe, there are now more things we can easily do to protect our privacy.
Look at the privacy settings on your smartphone, car, smart speakers and other home automation devices, email, social media accounts, and TVs, and adjust them to the right balance of protection that you prefer. Also, make sure you are using basic cybersecurity protections, like strong passwords, updated software, and anti-virus programs. To achieve a reasonable balance between protecting your precious personal information and enjoying the full benefits these kinds of services and devices, it only takes a little of your time and attention.