Why Privacy Is the Biggest Tech Issue of 2019

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Whether your realize it or not, your privacy is almost entirely integrated with technology. Your smartphone can track your location and habits, calculating how long it takes to get to work, based on how fast you drive. Your search engine tracks your purchases, learning your preferences and shopping habits. While these new technologies are convenient, they also bring up the loss of privacy, which is a serious issue.

Data and Privacy

Every interaction you have with a digital device creates a data point. When you look for directions, your phone needs to know your starting point. When you search for nearby restaurants, your phone remembers where you are. Even your smart thermostat can create a record of your normal comings and goings. As more services and devices link together, your digital profile will have all sorts of information about you. The issue of privacy comes into play when someone outside your household wants access to that information. Should companies be able to buy and sell your data? Should the government access your data?

Carpenter v. United States

In 2018, the Supreme Court heard a case that made a significant decision concerning cell phone data. The case involved the use of cell-site location records to prove the location of a robbery suspect. The lower court found that location data was not personal communication and so was not considered private information. The Supreme Court found that such data is private. The Supreme Court’s findings effectively broadens individuals’ expectation of privacy. The government cannot access private information without establishing probable cause and obtaining a search warrant, and based on this decision, they cannot use your data without permission.

Maintaining Your Digital Privacy

Privacy is a growing concern among those who use digital devices. People are more aware that the companies that help you communicate, travel, shop, and catch up with friends are also storing and using your data. In some cases, selling your data is the way they make a profit. Some people have no issue with this idea. They are willing to trade privacy for convenient digital services. However, due to growing concerns and new laws, many companies are now updating their privacy policies. As a consumer, you want to pay attention to how your data is being used. While reading the terms of service may seem like overkill for apps and websites, you should know what you are giving them permission to do with your data. Most of these give you the opportunity to opt out or to adjust your privacy settings.

Concerns about privacy will continue to grow in the digital age. As a growing number of appliances and other devices communicate with your phone, you will create even more data. It is up to you to decide how your data should be shared and how much of your life you want to keep to yourself.
Do you have more questions about your data security and privacy? Check out these articles for more information.

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