With the revelations made by Edward Snowden, we have discovered an all-new world about what online privacy concerns. Those revelations made me think about what is the correct way to deal with users data and what are the user rights and duties.
Million dollar questions
For me, issues related with privacy are almost always million dollar questions that are impossible to reach a general agreement, because everybody has different ways to deal with privacy in their lives and different views about it. However, isn’t it important to create some standards? Where is the line that you can’t cross?
In my opinion, some monitorization programs made by our governments, assuming that what Snowden says is true (which I think it is), are going too far. They do a lot of important things to our security, but some behaviours can’t be accepted.
However, this issue can’t be seen in such a simple way as government and big companies are the bad guys and people are the good ones. Every single day, people publish things online for all people to see and those people can’t judge others for using that information in which way they want.
In the end, if you want to send something only to your family you don’t make a public post in a social media, you send it directly to only those people by email or using a private message platform.
Do we already have the solution?
Before the internet, long distance communications were made by letters and wasn’t supposed your postman to see your mail. So, now, on the internet it must be done in the same way.
The issue, for me, is that we don’t have to be afraid that somebody sees our private accounts, we must be sure that the information is encrypted, private and secure.
We are starting to see other online services showing up (like browsers and web apps), where the biggest differentiator is that they have more security and privacy, but they don’t have any success. Why does nobody use those tools, if privacy is so important to us?
“If I’m doing nothing wrong, I don’t have to be afraid of being monitored”
To see things start changing, we have to be more aware about what we do and accept (yes, nobody reads the terms and conditions, everybody accepts a lot of things on the internet that doesn’t know what it is) and what are our rights and duties online.
All in all, we have to be better users (more conscious and better informed). If we want to require a better privacy online, we can’t accept in such a careless way some conditions, only to have short-term benefits.
Where is the middle term between “if I’m doing nothing wrong, I don’t have to be afraid of being monitored” and “everything is private and nothing can be shared, viewed or used” positions? This is another million dollar question. But do you really think that will exist an answer for this in the future?
I don’t have almost any answer for this issue, but once Snowden said: “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say”. In the end, saying and doing are two different things, but privacy matters and we can’t forget that we are part of a society and our opinions and actions are important. “Big things have small beginnings”.