Big tech vs. data privacy: It wasn’t meant to be this way

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Privacy. You would be hard-pressed to find a word used as frequently or with as much weight in recent years. As the world hurtles towards an increasingly digital future, concerns over data privacy have reached a fever pitch. 

From high-profile cases of data breaches to tales of government surveillance, it seems that scarcely a day goes by without another story about how our personal information is being mishandled.

Threats to privacy in the age of big tech

The digital age has brought with it many amazing advances, but it has also created new threats to our privacy. One of the biggest dangers comes from the way that big tech companies collect and use our data.

Most people are now familiar with the term “data mining” — the process by which companies collect large amounts of data about our online activity and use it to target ads and sell products. But data mining is just the tip of the iceberg. Many tech companies are now using sophisticated methods to track our every move, both online and offline.

This tracking is made possible by the proliferation of devices that are connected to the internet. These devices collect a wealth of data about our whereabouts, our behaviors and even our physiology. This data is then used to create detailed profiles of each individual user.

These profiles are extremely valuable to companies, who use them to target ads, sell products and influence our behavior. In other words, they use our personal information to make money.

This business model has come under fire in recent years, as more and more people have become aware of the ways that their personal data is being used without their consent. 

The way forward

So what can be done to protect our privacy in the age of big tech? There are no easy answers, but there are some steps that we can take to help ensure that our privacy is not violated.

The answer is not merely a matter of public policy — but an overall paradigm shift in the way we think about privacy. This would of course involve:

  • Advocating for stronger privacy laws.
  • Using privacy-preserving technologies.
  • Educating yourself and others about privacy issues.
  • Being vigilant about how we share our personal information.
  • Understanding the need for a decentralized and democratized web.

This last point goes back to the original intent of the internet. As a matter of fact, the internet was designed to be a decentralized network, where each user could connect to any other user without going through a central server. This design was based on the belief that decentralization would make the internet more resistant to censorship.

The future of privacy

Unfortunately, this vision has not been realized. Instead, we have seen the rise of a small number of giant tech companies that now control most of the internet. These companies use their power to censor and manipulate the information that we see, and they collect vast amounts of data about our online activity.

This centralization of power is dangerous for democracy and privacy. It gives these companies too much control over our lives, and it makes it easy for them to violate our rights.

We need to build a new internet that is decentralized and democratized. This new internet should be designed to protect our privacy and promote free speech. It should give power back to the people, and it should be resistant to censorship and control.

The first step in building this new internet is to create decentralized alternatives to the centralized services that we use today. These alternatives will be built on the principles of privacy, security and freedom. 

Privacy is a complex issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But by taking some simple steps to protect our privacy, we can make a difference. We can make sure that our data is not used to violate our rights, and we can help build a new internet that is free from censorship and control.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode.

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz