Privacy in the digital world

This is the first in a series of articles on privacy in the digital world.

When it comes to the digital world – aka the internet or the cloud – your "right to privacy" is a hot-button subject that will always be highly debated.

I ponder if the same principles of the right to privacy in the real world are even applicable to the digital world. To be honest, I don't have a real good answer to that question and may never will. At least not definitively, not like it is guaranteed that the sun will rise from the east every morning.

My opinion has always been that our "information" is highly valued by the companies that offer products and services through the digital world. This information I speak of can be anything and everything from what we are "googling" to where we have been in the real world. Many make their bottom line by brokering our information to the highest bidder or sell other products.

Also, the evolution of how we use the internet has changed the landscape of how easy it has become to amass our information. Regulations exist, albeit not as numerous and/or powerful in my opinion, to protect our privacy in the digital world. However, similar to the idea of "six degrees of separation," by correlating information collected that is allowed by law, it may be enough for the companies to profit from.

In my mind, though, the key to maintaining my right to privacy in the digital world is partly up to me. In other words, the "degree" of privacy I can maintain correlates with how I conduct myself in the digital world.

I always preach the importance of building "good habits" to minimize the risk of becoming victimized in the digital world since it affects your real-world assets, including your identity. At the same time, we need to be cognizant that some things are not in our control – like when the nefarious break into corporations/organizations that are safekeeping our PII (Personally Identifiable Information).

The intended goal of this upcoming series of articles will be to cover things in our control that can affect the degree of privacy. Sometimes that degree of privacy that is theoretically attainable may require compromises affecting your efficiency and/or the level of benefits you utilize in the digital world. Bottom line, there are things you can do in the hopes of trying to increase your degree of privacy in the digital world.

Specifically, I plan to cover common "settings'' in our devices' (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) operating systems, representative settings in our "apps" (smartphones/tablets), and also settings in the various services in the cloud – both free and paid – that together can affect the degree of privacy we can achieve.

Again, nothing definitive and very subjective as technology is used to amass our information but good habits nonetheless. Stay tuned!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:27 AM, 03.01.2022