A Few Unpopular Thoughts on Internet Privacy

A lot’s changed in the last 30 years. We’ve been forced to answer questions that we’ve never had to ask before. Questions like, “should I enter my credit card information online?” And there had to be an adjustment period to gain a measure of comfort with that — for some, it’s still going on. But that’s to be expected, I supposed.

Within the more recent past, the question has been whether or not tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook should be able to scrape, store and use data that you enter on their platforms. Data like your age, race, gender, geographic location, interests, recent purchases and recent searches.

Of course this freaks people out. They’ll respond with statements like, “their ads are getting too accurate — it’s creepy!” But while that’s a fair statement, I wouldn’t use it as an argument against allowing tech to gather data. I would actually use it as an argument for it. Because who wins in this scenario? Everyone. The companies get more money if you buy more things and you get ads served to you for things you actually want/need. Rather than random ads that are an annoyance, what if you saw a beautifully shot commercial for that new camera you’ve been Googling? I wouldn’t call that a bad thing. In fact, the more information we share, the better the technology we use can serve us.

This isn't a fully fleshed out case for letting computers “know us” as there’s no evidence whatsoever to back up my claims. It’s just a few points to get you thinking about the role of the internet of things in our lives.