HomeTech ZonePrivacy in the Digital Age: Are We Too Late?

Privacy in the Digital Age: Are We Too Late?

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Many people are turning to technology more and more in their day-to-day lives due to the impact of COVID-19. The advent of smartphones, home internet, smart devices like personal assistants, and cameras have enabled them to work, shop, and interact with others without having to leave their homes or put themselves at risk. At the same time, digital technologies also expose us to privacy threats. In 2020 alone several cyber-attacks stole and exposed data belonging to millions of Americans and more such attacks are anticipated.

The State of Privacy Today

During the last few decades, collecting, processing as well as storing data has become easier and quicker through technological advancements than ever before. These developments have greatly improved society as well as the economy in different ways but they have also led to the emergence of an economic model called surveillance capitalism.

It is an economic mode that Shoshana Zuboff defines as “private, for-profit actors claim the right to extract and use private experience to sell predictive products and services that enhance their control over our future behavior” (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism 2020). This enhances understanding of consumer behavior by companies because they can collect a lot of data from individuals’ electronic devices which makes it easy to sell this information to marketing purposes other than targeted ads.

Surveillance capitalism

Surveillance capitalism is now a global phenomenon wherein businesses and governments are using digital technologies all around the world in order to track the preferences or behavior patterns of individuals. This kind of surveillance enables organizations to get insights into customer’s habits thus allowing more personalized offerings should be made available. However, says Zuboff; there are substantial risks associated with these forms of data collection. “It’s no longer just about selling the product, it’s also about selling the user”. She adds,” Surveillance capitalism has evolved into a new system of power that subverts democracy and diminishes freedom” (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism 2020). By commercializing individual acts, it can erode people’s autonomy and affect their choices.

Challenges posed by surveillance capitalism

There is also an increasing concern about the privacy of data apart from dealing with challenges posed by surveillance capitalism. Due to a rise in the amount of time spent online it has become crucial to protect personal information and ensuring that it is not used without our consent. This is particularly important for individuals residing in countries having weak data protection laws or no safeguards at all. In 2018, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joseph N. Cannataci cautioned against “a catalogue of harms” arising from the “rapid development of data-driven technologies,” unless they are protected accordingly (Privacy 2018).

With all its drawbacks, there is a reason for hope. Nowadays, many firms and governments have understood the importance of data privacy and are taking steps towards enhancing their data protection practices. In addition, some countries have passed new laws that govern the collection and use of personal information. Nevertheless, more still should be done as regards the rights of individuals in this digital era. By understanding their rights and demanding accountability from organizations concerning their data protection guidelines, people can contribute significantly to this process. Certainly, it is only through addressing these questions at all levels (both individual and societal) that we can preserve our privacy in this digital age.

What is Privacy?

Privacy, a basic human right of individuals and bases of democratic society, remains among the most important aspects that guarantee our personal and collective dignity.

In this case, it also establishes the foundation on which other civil liberties and rights such as freedom of expression, association and assembly are built. Our control over personal information would be absent without privacy; hence governments and corporations would become too omnipotent.

It often refers to someone’s ability to determine how their personal information is obtained, utilized or distributed by others. Nevertheless, privacy implies more than just that limited definition.

From where we live and with whom we associate politically or religiously if we choose to express ourselves in these ways, privacy allows us to do so. It also provides protection for some other fundamental rights like speech or assembly. On the other hand, lack of privacy would reduce significantly our private autonomy while giving oversight powers to governments and corporations.

The present age of digitalization has led to numerous threats on privacy as more activities are done online. We are now exposed more than ever before to online tracking, profiling and theft of one’s personal data among other risks that need consideration.

Understanding what the situation currently is will show why it needs addressing first. This chapter will therefore discuss these problems plus provide possible solutions on how to protect privacy in this era of digital technology.

The Importance of Privacy in the Digital Age

It is increasingly critical that we protect our own personal information given our increasing use of social media sites. Or simply from being constantly available online for various reasons including shopping patterns or even political opinions. Since all these can be easily collected and analyzed about us. Responding accordingly is imperative at all costs when we consider his issue.

Protecting ourselves from the numerous breaches in the digital era is something worth doing. Through using social media platforms’ options requiring less individual information about a person is good. Similarly, posting on social media needs to be done cautiously because it can easily be hacked by other persons in other locations. Finally have knowledge of the organizations and companies that possess your data and exercise your rights for a copy.


When we take these steps, it will ensure that our personal records are safe and used responsibly. Therefore, for the purpose of privacy protection, we must be conscious as this digital environment expands. By so doing, we will be able to maintain some control over our individual lives as well as enjoy the connected world benefits even when online.

The potential for privacy intrusions grows with the increase in digital technology use. While others may claim that these encroachments are necessary for the general good, it is truer that most individuals would rather keep their privacy even when it means foregoing some of their comfort or effectiveness

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