Data Privacy 2021: Is there such a thing?

How can one remain private when almost all websites & cameras covertly collects information about you?


Cookies, Digital fingerprinting & more collect a ton of data that is uploaded and matched up with third party tracking obtained elsewhere. It has been going on for decades. Applets built within the website itself work like software capable of many things that would raise both eyebrows.


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The big bad Wolf .. not just the major Technology Juggernauts Stakeholders of the world but a well orchestrated eco system of first party data harvesting as well as those who's bottom line revolves primarily around advertising.


Some ad contains a tracking 1x1 pixel and other more sophisticated signalling. Those data points are as they say; to "deliver a better customer experience" which is B.S for trying to sell you something you didn't even know you needed.


When it comes to surveillance, there are Security Cameras everywhere not even factoring Face Recognition & the "Eye in the Sky" Satellite imaging right down to the expression on your face.


Is it time to panic?

Well ... the horse left the barn a long time ago. AI accelerates the above scenario into a playground exercise. Machine learning leveraging Big Data creating over incremental data points per "anonymised" individual.


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What are the real issues?

Allegedly better matched up ads that are mostly boring and irrelevant?

For innocuous WhatsApp or Messenger chats however, there is no real need to concern oneself.


The anonymised data points and profiling via data set aggregation is a commercial asset the network sells to advertisers. They don’t care so much about exposing anything about you to the world.


Off the Grid?

Unless one goes back to pen and paper and use no phones period as well as cover one's head and not have ANY form of ID, there is no escaping Dystopia in our Brave New World

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It's claimed that most CPU's contain a separate computing unit with its own operating system, a black box on your trusted devices. The claim (ZDNet) points out a collaboration of sorts between Government bodies and Chip Makers.


Disclosure: I used to be an enthusiastic believer of the promising User Requirement benefits coming up within Commercial Intelligence World back in the days. Today, Family & friends are rightfully concerned & this short article will hopefully provide some insight into the history of how we got here.


No Leaks!

Either one completely protects all aspect of one's privacy or not. There is no escape as one way or another, they will learn something useful about you.


Free Lunch Anyone?

WhatsApp started and went on as a FREE Communications system long after Facebook bought it circa $20 Billions. At the time it has 450 Million users. In 2020, it clocked 2 Billion users.

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Even better than a Freemium model, no pesky ads & totally free was the promise made to Koum, the WhatsApp founder by Zuckerberg before the sale.


Building WhatsApp was not cheap and in the end it has to pay for itself plus eventually turn a profit. "This is the way" - says the Mandalorian.

Alternatives?

Signal & Telegram are free today. Signal is funded by donors. What happens when donations are not enough? Could it keep innovating & satisfy its user requirements? How can it compete with privately funded & adequately staffed alternatives?


For most players, monetisation will kick in once the user base has hit critical mass .. from there, ads in the app itself &/or demographic profiling into group segments for advertising intelligence access sold to other networks.


What to do?

Your guess is as good as mine. The world we live in will continue to evolve & we should be conscious of the limitations inherant in remaining private and connected at the same time.




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