Whenever we step into a theater we can always notice who is in the audience along with you watching the film or performance, and by assessing the situation you can depict if the people accompanying you makes you uncomfortable. The same ideology applies to a friend gathering in a party or restaurant, by analyzing the topics discussed and knowing the people involved you can make a decision to step in and participate or keep your thoughts to yourself. In these scenarios there are no breaches in privacy because everybody can see each other, but that is not usually the case in the digital world. Before the conspiracy theory of Big Brother watching over us was actually proved to be true, everybody roamed the internet happily and freely and assumed nobody would take advantage of them, after all ignorance is bliss, but they were clearly mistaken. We have now reached a point in which everybody is extremely cautious and suspicious over their actions in the internet and only assume people are inherently bad therefore they can not trust anybody online.
However, there are things that ensures users that the digital world might be safer than we think. For example, GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) is an encryption program which enables authenticity and grants confidentially and trust through emails. Social media platforms such as Facebook, are notoriously known to ignore our privacy; In fact, Facebook sold information about users to other companies and made millions of dollars over the past years. The article Social Network Platforms is a guide which shows extensively and precisely how to make platforms such as a Facebook less insecure. The guide goes through the privacy and settings in Facebook explaining how they are recording private information about user’s accounts, and the guide also demonstrates how users can make it harder for Facebook to acquire private information.
Lastly, there are ways we can protect our privacy online by installing add-ons into our browsers. Similarly to Facebook, browsers have also been able to retain some of our private information and taking advantage of it. However, there are ways to protect yourself from that breach of privacy as well. For instance, for Firefox users an add-on known as TrackMeNot has been known to be very effective. According to its creators Daniel Howe, Hellen Nissenbaum, and Janoss, “An artware browser add-on to protect privacy in web-search. By issuing randomized queries to common search-engines, TrackMeNot obfuscates your search profile and registers your discontent with surreptitious tracking.”
It is abundantly clear that the digital world is a dangerous place, in which usually the selfish and opportunistic side of people and companies shines through. Luckily, there are also people in the digital world who are looking out for the public, either by trying to educate us on the topic or actually creating software which battles these algorithms that gathers our information.