Different people know different things about you. You might supply your doctor with information you wouldn’t give your taxi-driver. You might supply your lawyer with information you wouldn’t give your lover. Yet information you supply online – what you say, read, watch, share, buy or sell – gets used for purposes beyond those for which it was supplied. As the saying goes, “When the internet is free, you are the product”.
That information is used to shape your behaviour, and influence the decisions you make. It is used to determined the content you receive – what you do, see, read or watch. It is used to sell things to you. It is used to make decisions about you – the loan, the insurance, the job or the opportunities you are offered. Your data could be stolen. In the wrong hands, your data could be used against you in some way. Your data can be used to spy on you.
We have little idea what of our data is being used, how or by whom. We have little say in how it is used. We have no power to object, nor any ability to amend that data. We have little control over our data.
The solution is to protect privacy. Protecting our privacy can limit the scope that others have to use our information beyond the purpose for which it was supplied. It allows us to have greater control over our online reputation. It enables us to grow and mature without being shackled by foolish things we might have said or done in the past. It enables us to explore new ideas outside the mainstream, without fear of being watched. Those that know about us have power over us. Protecting privacy limits that power.