The Internet has become the day-to-day of people. Things like watching television, shopping or preparing food involve technology. But is there privacy in a world controlled by microchips? Do we really have privacy with social networks?
Privacy, a big problem of the 21st century
The technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. In the last few decades computers have gone from being exclusively for professionals to being so easy to use that even a child can use them. But not only has their ease of use changed, their power has increased exponentially and their size is so small that you always carry a computer with you (yes, I’m talking about the mobile phone).
But without a doubt, one of the most important changes was the arrival of the Internet . A macro network of computer networks that made it possible for anyone to communicate with anyone, wherever they were. It was the beginning of another world globalized , where anything that happens in the world will be known in seconds on the other side of the planet. Which is undoubtedly a fantastic thing, because news spreads like wildfire, and disclosure becomes a piece of cake. In this way, anyone with access to a computer with an Internet connection can find out what the latest scientific and technological advances are or what the situation is in a given country.
But that is only one side of the coin, and that is that this huge amount of information is sometimes excessive, especially when it comes to personal matters . So, in the world we live in today, it is possible for an unknown person to know more about you than even a relative.
Keeping your privacy safe is critical in these times, and education is the main line of defense.
This is the great thing about privacy. Especially if you are young you will already know the risks of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat among others. I personally remember perfectly the talks they gave in my school on this subject. Especially because it coincided with the success of Tuenti, the Spanish social network that was so loved and forgotten. And therefore, there were many young people who got into this social network or others without knowing its risks.
But let’s go to the nougat. What are the risks of social media? Easy, the content .
The dangerous thing about any social network is the content that is posted on it. Once you publish something on the Internet, that content becomes public domain , and as it is a digital content it is not free from the possibility of being copied. Therefore, when we upload a photo or video publicly on a social network we must take into account that we will no longer have control over its distribution.
Likewise, it is also very dangerous what we say, not only what we upload. In this way, a person who habitually uses social networks in a carefree manner runs the risk of being traced. What do I mean by this? I mean that through the frequency of your tweets, for example, a person can find out what your habits are , like what time you wake up, what time you start working or what time you go to bed. So, while before it was said that the important thing was not to reveal data such as where you are or what you will be doing at what time, now it also becomes risky to say something, whatever it is.
Some of the main social networks.
This point is also well known, although not as well known as the previous one.
Those who are more knowledgeable about the subject will know that the default browser allows websites to store data on our computer. These are called cookies and their purpose is to maintain sessions , but they also allow the tracking of users. This technology is widely used, in fact, you’ve probably come across the message if you accept the cookies , you’ve probably even hit it without realizing it.
The cookies are responsible for the fact that when you visit a website you see ads for products that you have already seen, among other things. But that purpose, which at first sight seems harmless, can lead to a serious privacy hole . If these cookies are misused , they can allow you to track a user’s web activity.
Browser cookies seem harmless, but if used improperly they become a major hole in our privacy.
ISPs have more information than anyone else
While the famous cookies can allow you to track a user’s activity on the Internet, this has its limitations.
But there is someone who knows perfectly well which websites we are running, or more specifically, which servers we are communicating with . I’m talking about the ISP . Everything we do on the Internet passes through them, and so they know exactly which servers we connect to. In fact, by law they must store a record, because the cyber police or another agency may want to have access to that data to clarify the facts of an investigation.
And who or what is the ISP? Several will already know, but most will not. The ISP, or “Internet Service Provider” , is simply the technical name given to the operators who provide access to the Internet. For example, Vodafone, Orange, Ono or R are some examples of ISPs, being Movistar (the former Telefónica) one of the most important ISPs worldwide.
Google knows everything and sees everything…
Although your operator may know who you are talking to, they have a hard time knowing what you are talking about. This is because most web servers now use HTTPS, which is the secure version of HTTP. With this protocol, all communication is encrypted , so all you see is who the packet is going to and little else.
Therefore, ISPs can’t even know what you’re looking for in Google. But there is someone who does know … Google.
Probably the person who knows most about your tastes is your favourite search engine, whether it’s Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Google , Alphabet’s search engine. The latter, being the most used, is the one that has the most information about us. Who has never used a Google service? But this does not only apply to search engines. While these are the best examples, other services such as Amazon , for example, may also have enough information about us.
Does Google know what you’re looking for?
If you are hacked, forget about your privacy
Let’s look at one last case, and without a doubt, the most dangerous we have seen.
You keep everything on your computer. Both important documents and personal photos and videos . But the truth is, your computer stores a lot more , such as a history of pages visited, passwords or cards saved, contact list or calendar events. Therefore, if someone were to gain access to your computer , either physically or by being hacked , they would have full access to your data.
If someone gets hold of your mobiletablet, or even worse, your computer, all your documents, photos, passwords and so on will be at risk.
As you can see, I have exposed a series of cases in which our privacy could be affected by technology. These are not the only ones, but they are the ones I considered commenting on because of their importance or popularity. But what these examples do show is that we cannot fully trust that our privacy will not be violated in this technological world.
What do you think? Do you think we can really maintain our privacy? How much progress do you think it will take to achieve this?