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Privacy? What’s that?

In the modern age there is an increased tendency to disregard privacy, as though it’s an old sock – something we’d very much like to keep, but unfortunately have to let go.

I say this after having recently installed the new Snapchat update, in which there is a feature that when enabled by a user gives their friends carte blanche over their location at all times, who they’re with and also how many others are with them. That’s pretty creepy. Yet again, this is another corporation that has decided to almost mass-surveil their users and make it public. In fact, after donating a little thought to the idea, I’ve come to realise just how much information each and every app on my phone knows about me.

Put simply, my phone knows more about me than my entire family combined. It turns out just one tiny gadget can tell better (and, frankly, more embarrassing) stories of my life than my mother will with any girlfriend I might ever introduce her too. Scary. Truth be told, I imagine they’d both relish the chance to watch me travel around and see everything I’ve done, but why do multi-national corporations need this information? I’m not in a relationship with them. I may have a conversation with their customer support site every now and then but I don’t know Abu, from India, in person – I only know it takes 35 minutes of “hold” to get through to him.

The Snapchat map has the exact location of friends visible, with thermal activity denoting how busy an area is

The more I come to think of it, the more mortified I am in knowing that I have naïvely and voluntarily handed over all of this information about me without a question in the air; it’s as though I deem my personal details as just a throw-away item. There is no shadow of a doubt that I would whisk off a man on the street asking the same questions about me, so why did I not entertain my inquisitiveness when Apple, whom I know just as well, asked me to give my fingerprint and all else I had to when opening an account? And they’re not the only ones.

Thanks to these malicious tactics, Google knows what I’m thinking with every search I make, what I sound like with every question I ask, where I live from where I travel most on Maps, not to mention my full name, my phone number, my face-reddening first email address and my mother’s maiden name, and on that last note, they probably also know my entire family tree. So I come to ask: what don’t they know? What is it I haven’t told Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? And what information of mine haven’t they sold to illicit agencies around the globe (that may or may not be affiliated with government organisations led by comical figures)?

All in all, there is no privacy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my future children never learn the term privacy – didn’t understand it. Technology is becoming part of our DNA. There has to come a time when people begin to question whether these corporations need to know what they know. Of course, technology will remain vital to communication in society, but does it have to store data about which hours I’m sleeping and when I’m at home? This isn’t for security, this is for data-sharing, for profit, for more money. These companies are greedy and are destroying our long-upheld values of privacy and security. George Orwell said it would happen in 1984, I say 2084. Big Brother is watching, and I don’t like it.