As of the first quarter of 2018, Facebook has over 2.19 billion active users. Instagram has over 800 million active users. Snapchat has about 200 million users and Twitter has over 330 million. And these numbers are increasing, rapidly.
What does this statistic say? For the people born in the 60s, it might mean the beginning of the downfall of humanity. It indeed is true, up to some extent, letters and fax being almost extinct. People prefer to get their news from twitter and other apps rather than through a newspaper. One can do a lot of things digitally which was not possible before. Booking movie tickets, paying bills, grocery shopping, ordering food, you can even buy and sell properties online nowadays. The world has truly shrunk and can be accessed by anyone who has the World Wide Web.
But if you would ask an IT personnel, for them the statistics mean the exposure of personal data to everyone. Meaning, you are putting a part of your life and your identity in the hands of app developers and social media companies. This sounds really scary, and it should be. Your privacy on the net can be compromised and you should be aware about it.
You might be getting some annoying emails from companies stating they are changing their privacy policies and I say annoying because really, when you are just looking forward to a reply from your associates, a cluttered inbox full of these emails can be frustrating. So if that seems to be your case, let me explain it to you in brief what the emails were all about.
On May 25th 2018 a new law which was actually first adopted in 2016, was enforced. It is known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union which basically gives better control of one’s data acquired by companies. The emails that you were getting tells you that they are updating their terms and conditions. Know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the companies have misused your data, it’s just to let you know that you now have more control over your data and that you can opt out of allowing any company from using it.
Being aware is the first step towards fighting against data theft. You might have seen Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook on the news quite often the past few months. That’s because the multi –million dollar company was caught by the Cambridge Analytica for illicitly hording data of over 50 million users. Facebook has been under fire quite a few times earlier as well. Some of the private messages of users from its Messenger app were used to advertise on the site.
Hopefully with GDPR, things will turn for the good. But there is only so much a law can do, people with malicious intent are masters in finding loopholes. No it is not enough. One has to stay vigilante and aware. Your privacy on the internet is your right. The law now allows you to contact companies directly and inquire them about your data. It also now allows you to wipe out any data relating to you on any of the sites. It is really a big step towards safeguarding the internet from cybercrime.
Believe me, being aware is the best thing you can do right now to protect your data. About the rest? Well, let’s leave it up to the laws, and the mercy of the tech giants!
Image Credits: The Irish Times.