I often talk about online privacy and security. Often, these two subjects are lumped together as one, but I think it's important to explore them as separate issues and understand WHY privacy and security are important. But beyond this, there is a third issue that is hardly ever talked about; sovereignty.
Understanding the "WHY" regarding online security is easy to understand. If you aren't secure, you leave yourself open to someone stealing from you. This could be your money, your identity, your information or your time.
Online security is a very important issue that everyone needs to take seriously. This is why I recommend such things as updating your phone and computer often, using a VPN to encrypt your online activities, using a password manager and more.
While online security is a serious issue, it's easy to understand why it's important.
But what about the "WHY" regarding online privacy? This is a much harder issue to understand, but in many ways, the why is more important...
Most people disregard online privacy for two reasons; first, is the "I'm not doing anything wrong so I don't need to worry" argument. second, people simply have no idea how much the large tech companies know about them, or they don't understand how this information can be used against them.
But here's what it comes down to...online privacy is important because knowledge is power, and the more knowledge companies and governments have about you, the more power they have over you.
This is a good explanation I read recently, "By now, most people are aware that their data is worth money. But your data is not valuable only because it can be sold. Facebook does not technically sell your data, for instance. Nor does Google. They sell the power to influence you. They sell the power to show you ads, and the power to predict your behaviour. Google and Facebook are not really in the business of data – they are in the business of power. Even more than monetary gain, personal data bestows power on those who collect and analyse it, and that is what makes it so coveted."
The article goes on to say, "The power that comes about as a result of knowing personal details about someone is a very particular kind of power. Like economic power and political power, privacy power is a distinct type of power, but it also allows those who hold it the possibility of transforming it into economic, political and other kinds of power. Power over others’ privacy is the quintessential kind of power in the digital age."
"Power over others’ privacy is the quintessential kind of power in the digital age."
And that brings us to the third point, which very few people ever talk about, and that is sovereignty, and I'm referring to individual and national sovereignty.
As an individual, we want to be independent and be in complete control of the decisions we make in our lives.
Are you a sovereign person if you use Google to search the internet and Google chooses what it wants to show you as search results? Google can, and does, control it's search results to manipulate you - but this manipulation is invisible. You don't even know it's happening.
Even before you search for something, Google has an auto-fill feature that they can and do use to manipulate what you search for. So, for example, when you start typing something into the search bar, and a drop down appears with suggestions on how to finish your sentence, that is a way that Google can manipulate your results.
This is the whole reason they collect information on you, so they can influence you! This is their entire business model, and this makes them more powerful than any other company in history.
What I'm talking about may seem like a small, inconsequential thing, but what happens when you look at the country as a whole? In the last election, one respected researcher estimates that Google's manipulations resulted in an extra 2,600,000 to Hillary Clinton in 2016! For the 2020, top executives at Google have determined to make sure a Trump election never happens again. And again, you will never know Google's influence.
Regardless of whether you are a Republican or Democrat, this should terrify you for our country. Because, yes, it means that our democracy, or representative republic is no longer. This is incredible power that could eventually lead to an authoritarian regime.
Here's another important quote from the article I mentioned above, "Furthermore, privacy is not only about you. Privacy is both personal and collective. When you expose your privacy, you put us all at risk. Privacy power is necessary for democracy – for people to vote according to their beliefs and without undue pressure, for citizens to protest anonymously without fear of repercussions, for individuals to have freedom to associate, speak their minds, read what they are curious about. If we are going to live in a democracy, the bulk of power needs to be with the people. If most of the power lies with companies, we will have a plutocracy. If most of the power lies with the state, we will have some kind of authoritarianism. Democracy is not a given. It is something we have to fight for every day. And if we stop building the conditions in which it thrives, democracy will be no more. Privacy is important because it gives power to the people. Protect it."
WHAT TO DO?
It is your responsibility to protect your privacy and security, for your personal benefit and sovereignty and for the USA's benefit and sovereignty! This is a very important issue.
For security and privacy, see my articles here.
For sovereignty, I recommend that everyone STOP GIVING GOOGLE POWER, by stop using Google products.
Don't use Google to search the web, but rather use DuckDuckGo (see my article about this here).
Don't use Gmail, use Protonmail.
Don't use the Chrome browser, use FireFox.
If you use Google products (it's impossible to totally avoid Google) be very careful and use them as a last resort.
You can also talk to your elected officials to do something about this. Here's a video that explains what government officials need to know so they understand the issue, and what government can do about it. Also this.
Tell others to do the same.
Please share this article with anyone else you know who wants our country to remain a real representative republic, as opposed to a shell game of the tech companies. Also, leave your comment below.