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Is Digital Privacy Important?

It’s the first day of data privacy week.

Those in the community will spend the week trying to raise awareness within the general public and advocating for various acts of privacy legislation or reform.

For most, though, it’ll pass without even a nod of the head.

Do You Care About Privacy?

That raises the critical question, “Is Digital Privacy Important?” If the general public isn’t calling their representatives or voting with their wallet to ensure their privacy rights, is that a key indicator?

Is the answer simply, “No.”?

Awareness

I don’t believe so. I believe that most people care about their digital privacy. They want awareness and control of their data online.

The problem is that this is such a complex and nuanced issue that it’s extremely difficult to understand the scale at which you’ve lost control of your data.

User Data vs. Data About a User

Once hair that is split all too often is the idea of “user data.” When the everyday person refers to user data, they mean data that they have and data about them.

When a company in the data market—collectors, brokers, etc.—talk about user data, they mean data that you have explicitly shared. The photos that you upload to your social network, your posts, the profile information to added. Things like that.

The data about you and your behaviours aren’t included in their definition of user data. They file that under “data about a user.”

This is a useful dodge when dealing with the public. Doubly so when dealing with legislators.

Take Action

I wish I could make a call to action that would change the situation but there’s isn’t any one thing. Time and time again, when people are aware of how data about them is created and handled, they want change.

The best thing that you can do is to inform yourself about how the services and apps you use handle and harvest your data.

Understanding that, you can make different choices for some services and ask the services you can’t change why they are collecting so much data about you.