Take my data online, I don’t need it – The Rocky Mountain Collegian


College student | Sophie Sirokman

(Graphic illustration by Sophia Sirokman | The Collegian)

Adah McMillan, college columnist

Editor’s note: All content in the opinion section reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a position taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

They say “If something is free, you are the product.” When it comes to online data, we are all very lucrative products.

According to an article by The conversation.

According to Kaspersky, “Data brokers don’t have a direct relationship with the people they collect data on, so most people don’t even know the data is being collected. While individuals often click “I agree” to online privacy policies and terms of use – sometimes without thinking – it is not always clear how much data control is consented to and what is the cumulative effect on so many websites.

But honestly, I don’t care about my online privacy at all. I don’t mind being the product. I have nothing to hide – most of us don’t.

We joke a lot about asking people to delete our browser history after we die, but let’s be honest, our lives aren’t that interesting. Everyone looked for something weird or gross. No one will view your search history after you die, unless you are a suspect, and deleting it won’t save you. Moreover, you will be dead.

Sometimes I worry that because of targeted ads, I will lose all my money to online shopping companies. Then I remember that I have basic self-control and my fears dissipate.

“I don’t blame anyone for wanting their privacy. But I think it’s unrealistic to expect that in the world we live in, and I really don’t want to pay for YouTube.

But what if a company uses my personal information to scam me? My solution is this: don’t get scammed and be smart in your interactions. Hang up the phone on someone from a company you don’t recognize. Do not give out your personal information over the phone. Don’t buy things from shady sites. Don’t trust any stranger who knows too much about you. Developing a fear of spending money also works very well for me.

Would I sleep better at night if I knew my privacy was secure online? Probably not because I would be stressed about how much money I would spend on online services. The reason we get things like YouTube, Instagram, Google Docs, etc. for free are online advertisements and the sale of our information.

If privacy were the default setting, data brokers would have less information to sell and then charge us for the services we like to get for free.

If you really care about your privacy, you can spend your own money on a Virtual Private Network.

According to NortonLifeLock, “A Virtual Private Network, better known as a VPN, protects your identity and browsing activity from hackers, corporations, government agencies, and other spies.” It’s not that expensive; you can get Surfshark over two years for just over $2 a month.

If you don’t want to spend money, use a more secure browser or read the terms and conditions more often. I know saying this is a betrayal of modern culture, but knowing what you’re signing up for will keep you safe online.

Lying is also a fun option. Nobody needs to know that I was born on December 2, 2002. I can just tell Twitter that I was born on October 1 instead. Of course, you shouldn’t lie about big things, like election results, but the general public can be left confused about the little details of your life if you so choose.

I don’t blame anyone for wanting their privacy. But I think it’s unrealistic to expect that in the world we live in, and I really don’t want to pay for YouTube.

Contact Adah McMillan at [email protected] or on Twitter @mcadahmillan.


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