Privacy & Why it Matters

⚠️ Long post about privacy. Doesn’t relate to Python at all. Do read if you care and want to learn more about how your privacy is being violated.

Last couple of weeks have totally changed my whole viewpoint on privacy. I was also a part of that bandwagon in which people say that “Why should I be worried about privacy when I don’t have anything to hide or I don’t do anything illegal?”. You start taking it seriously only when your privacy is breached. Let me reiterate, privacy is a fundamental right and should be granted to everyone.

In my efforts to shift away from the big 3 (Facebook, Microsoft, Google) I have started using a paid email service Protonmail. It might sound dumb to pay for something so basic which is being offered by so many companies for free but it really is not dumb. There is a very famous saying which is particularly famous in the tech circle:

if you don’t pay for the product you are the product

I am linking some articles below which can provide you some context on what and how you are being tracked. This is just a teaser and the reality is bleaker than it sounds. I urge you to read these articles. If you want to discuss them with someone you are more than welcome to talk to me.

👉 The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

👉 Why I am worried about Google

👉 Report: Google Tracks What You Buy Offline Using Data from Mastercard

👉 Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

👉 Exclusive: WhatsApp Cofounder Brian Acton Gives The Inside Story On #DeleteFacebook And Why He Left $850 Million Behind

The reason why it’s so hard to move away from the big 3 is that as soon as you move away you start feeling like a second class citizen. However, it’s not as true anymore as it used to be a couple of years back. You can find some really good alternatives for famous Google services at this link:

Privacy conscious services which you can use:

  • Chrome -> Firefox
  • GMail -> Protonmail/Fastmail
  • Google Drive -> Dropbox or better yet NextCloud

I will write another post in the near future about how to start the process of moving away from these services.

🔒 Now, for those who make the same argument against privacy violation which I used to make, here are some responses against it:

Edward Snowden: “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”

“[p]eople often feel immune from state surveillance because they’ve done nothing wrong” an entity or group can distort a person’s image and harm one’s reputation, or guilt by association can be used to defame a person.”

🔗 Source

At one point I was a huge opponent of GDPR (European Privacy Law) because of how much effort small entrepreneurs had to put in just to be compliant with that law but after I realized how easy it is for big companies to breach the privacy of people I have started supporting it. It might take me extra time to make my projects compliant but if it means that the big companies will also have a tough time keeping people’s data without their explicit knowledge and consent, I am all in favor for it.

It goes without saying that if you ever want to talk to anyone about this please let me know and I can talk to you. I don’t claim to know even the tiniest bit about privacy and what it means but I am trying my best to learn about it as much as possible so that I can better guide myself and others.

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