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Privacy, Joke of the Century.

Firstly, laugh, laugh wholeheartedly, WHY? because it’s a fucking joke. Ok Ok, now that I’ve calmed down, let me tell you about privacy.

What is privacy?

Someone once told me, “Start from the Start”. Privacy is the ability of someone to hide or protect information about themselves from selective entities. This allows them to maintain integrity about their personal lives and enjoy freedom. Now enough about privacy, you know what it is.

The Start

I never really thought about privacy until my 1st year in college. My team and I made a project on the Automated attendance system using Image Recognition and AI. The judge asked us about privacy. I just told him, “It’s a joke.” He didn’t laugh though, maybe he didn’t get the joke. I hope he reads this.

“You are concerned about something which doesn’t exist. Privacy is a myth, the more you hide, the more you expose”

On a scale of 1 to 10, How much do you trust your privacy? If you are anywhere more than 6, then you are in for a reality check, trust me, you need one, and I am going to give it to you.

The Colossal Joke

If you think the data stored on the internet is safe from others, then I appreciate the gusto with which you approach life. Any data, when connected, becomes compromised.

Why? and how?

Because it’s easy.

Data collection

Ever wondered why your Facebook feed, websites, and some applications show ads for the things that interest you. You want to buy a pair of sneakers, you browse for them on various e-commerce sites and the next thing you see is an ad for sneakers on sale.
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Keyloggers

Anyone can get your data by stealing your credentials just by plugging a USB device or sending a mail, as simple as that. Keyloggers are malware which logs your keystrokes and sends the logs to another user. You want antivirus, sure, you can do that but that only gives you 40% chance to be safe. Surprised? Well, you should be.

Phishing pages

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Ever came across a website or page which looked familiar to you but had some minute differences?? Chances are that you came across a phishing page. Phishing pages are almost perfect replicas of real pages, but once you enter your information, you are screwed and not in a fun way, oops.

The methods stated above are so common and easy that even a 12-year-old kid can do it easily. There are other methods too, lots and lots of them, but these are the easiest. So think again before letting a troublemaker kid use your PC or else you may be in for a nasty surprise.

The Front Joke

Your data is stolen regularly, you just don't realize it. It’s not your fault. Almost 70% of the population is unaware and clueless about it. You are among the 70% part, feeling special?

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg giving a speech on “how Facebook is secure and lets you track the websites which collect your data. Yeah, like I am gonna believe it.<br>
You use Facebook, right? Well, aren’t you a social animal? Do you know how Facebook is famous for collecting data such as your search history, location history, your interests,? Facebook claims that the collected data is used for providing the users a more personalized user experience, but hey, who knows, right? They can do what they want to do, maybe not now but shortly.

Tweepsect

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Enough about Facebook now, you thought Twitter was safe? Surprise!!. Tweepsect is one of my favorite creepy websites. You just enter the twitter id of a person and it shows you the list of users stalking him or stalked by him.

Shodan

You may not know about Shodan, it is a search engine. No, not like Google, it’s a search engine for interconnected devices. You may think it’s just google for IoT devices. It’s a lot more than that, with Shodan you can search for open and vulnerable devices like open webcams, open ports, baby monitors, etc. Yeah, you are not the only one watching your newborn sleeping. Creepy, right? The interesting thing is that Shodan is completely legal because the information shown there is already available to the public. It just gathers the information from distinct places and shows them in one place.

Why will it remain a joke?

You can change things to a certain extent. After that limit, it’s out of your hands and you can’t do anything about it.

1. Social media

There are more than 2.5 billion monthly users on Facebook. The number is very large, and the data collected through it is worth a lot. This is just for Facebook, there’s Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and countless more I don’t know the name of. Combining them, we get a number greater than the entire world population. Everything is uploaded there, your everyday life, habits, etc. Your social media profiles can tell about you more than your friend. It has become so addictive that one can’t easily resist the temptations of using social media and sharing everything.

2. Global Surveillance Programs

This thing is on a whole other level.
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What if someone knows more about you than yourself? Sounds scary, right? It’s true. Government agencies have a properly maintained database of your life which includes almost everything, your transaction history, your travel history, your health records, etc. There is not one but many Global surveillance Programs such as “ECHELON”, “PRISM”, “MYSTIC”, “SORM”, etc. That’s not the worst part, the worst part is that you can’t escape it unless you restrict yourself and change your lifestyle which means restricting your activities on social media. But in today’s world, where everything’s online and on social media, it’s almost impossible to change it.

3. The thinking

Most of the population think that their data is not worth stealing. They are rather comfortable with the idea of their data being stolen. It’s not their fault, its nobody’s fault. You can’t expect anyone to stop a habit unless you tell the adversity of it. They need to understand that their data may be insignificant for them, but they can be important for someone willing to exploit you. They sell your data to multiple organizations that use it for their benefit. Ever wondered how multiple telemarketers get your contact info? Now you know. Not only this, but insurance companies can also use your health record to deny insurance by stating an illness based on that record. There are almost endless possibilities like this.

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The only excellent thing

The only benefit of this much data collection I can think of is the advancement in Artificial Intelligence. The data collected from people from distinct places, culture, and habits can help in training a model which can personalize itself to cater to a sizeable population without reconfiguration. Facebook also uses the data collected in its AI which is why you see the feed personalized to you and it also suggests other things which may interest you. Not only this, but there are other use cases also, but that’s another story for another article.

What do you value more, the progress in Artificial Intelligence, or your privacy? p.S. that was a joke, privacy doesn’t exist.

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