From once being something we cherished and protected with all of our might, privacy has become fluid in the 21st century with the rise of social media giants that changed the way we handle ourselves each and every day. The term is truer than ever thanks to the World Wide Web reaching even the most remote parts of the world, allowing people to connect without ever seeing each other in real life.
Unfortunately, even the best things in life come with a price, and the internet becoming a major part of our lives also has its disadvantages. Putting aside the fact that many of us touch phone screens more than we do our loved ones, is the price of privacy loss too big to handle?
The fact that targeted ads suddenly pop up on your phone when you talk to someone about that very thing you wanted are enough to make us all paranoid, and it is no accident. Nowadays advertisers are specializing in sending ads to target audiences by honing in on what they want. Looking for a product or service online will eventually result in you getting ads about the very thing you were looking for, meaning that your thoughts have basically been translated into potential purchases.
Alongside the customized ads we receive online, our search history is saved and stored for years to come. In other words, for all of you deleting your browser history: you're only fooling your wife. Additionally, accounts are hacked on a daily basis with private information getting passed around on the .
According to wordpress.com, the dark web has 400-550 times more public info than on the surface web, 550 billion individual documents and 95% of it is publicly accessible. On that shady web, private information is sold and passed around to buyers who only have access to it because people like you and me willingly use their personal info on the surface web.
The breach of privacy has affected many people, but like with all things, it also has its advantages. It was best described in Spencer Tracy's performance as Clarence Darrow in Inherit the Wind when he said "progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, “Alright, you can have a telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance... Mister, you may conquer the air, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.”
It is true that we pay a price for the progress we enjoy, but there are plenty of good things when it comes to the internet and how it turned the world into a global village. There have been numerous crimes that were solved thanks to the fact that authorities had access to private information. The same is true for terrorist attacks that were foiled thanks to telecommunications and being able to access data from a distance. The ability to access records, and especially public records, is not only helpful on a national and international level, but also on a much smaller scale.
Despite the supposed over-share on social media, it is hard to keep track of the number of fake profiles, frauds and identity thefts that take place on these outlets. People may share information on their social media accounts, but a large part of it is either false or not representative of the whole truth. The only way to know the whole truth about a person is to do a full on, on him and see what skeletons may lurking in his closet. From criminal records to accurate contact information to mugshots, having access to valuable information through that very same world wide web that can cause problems at times.
In the 21st century, gets passed around faster than the speed of light, but not without a cost. When we use the internet, we enjoy all of its benefits but have to give up some of the privacy that comes along with it. Although it might not seem like it, we have more power than we think. Sharing information on different websites is not a must, and we can also find valuable data through public records and discover the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth that we just can't find by any other means.