My life is completely exposed. A quick Google search would tell you my name, the name of my company, my work history. My every detail lies bare.
Why, then, do I care when a company like Facebook forces me to share my details with it? Does Google really care about my browsing history? They already know everything about me, right? Well, not quite.
First, ask yourself this: if companies already know everything about us, why do they need our consent to use our information? Clearly they have some limitations on what they can access or legally use.
Next, let’s think about what this information is worth to these companies. Why do they want it? I haven’t given this question much thought myself until I watched The Social Dilemma. Now, I cannot un-see it. It’s not a voyeuristic curiosity that drives these companies. It’s profit.
So, how do these companies plan on profiting from our information, and why should we care? To put it simply, these companies use our information to program us. They learn what drives us, and what buttons to push to make us act. This is not a fair fight. We are ill-equipped to deal with the psychological tools that are used on us. We are driven to buy, to spend more time on our screens and even to change our behavior.
If you ever bought something you don’t need, ask yourself why. If you spend hours staring at your phone, ask yourself why. And then stop sharing your information. Switch to privacy-first services. Ditch WhatsApp, install Signal. Search using DuckDuckGo. Browse using Brave.
Mind your privacy. Take back control.