Valley News Desk

Why you should care about privacy (even if no one else around you does)

Person reads articles and researches ways to become more private after learning how companies are abusing our data Person finds an online forum, and ends up sprinting down the rabbit hole of alternatives, fixes, and ‘get private quick’ actions Person does too much, too fast and becomes burnt out Person questions if it’s all worth it because it’s hard and no one else around them is doing it so why should they Person goes back to old, comfortable habitsIt happens like clockwork and you can always tell what stage the person is at after talking to them for a moment or two.

But, there’s a specific step I want to hone in on for this post. The “no one else around me is doing it, so why should I bother” part.

Usually, this mentality comes during or directly after they try to change their daily habits, both IRL and online, all at once and become overwhelmed. They changed all of their passwords, email service, web browser, downloaded Signal, deleted Facebook and SnapChat, went and registered for a PO box, and shredded their credit cards all in the same week and are trying to cold turkey their way into privacy.

After spending hours of their time and a chunk of cash, they’re sitting there wondering if it’s all worth it. Their brain begins to cast doubt on their actions and look for justifications to drop everything and go back to how it was. Mom and dad are out living their life happily even though they use Facebook, Windows, and Chrome.

Your best friend runs a successful local shop and uses Google for everything.

Heck, even your sister’s are all over social media and sign up for every contest known to man, yet, her life doesn’t seem any different than yours when you’ve gone through all of this work to become more private.

So why care about privacy when everyone around you doesn’t?  
Here’s four reasons why you should care and why it’s important you do.

You have to normalize itHeadlines about privacy and data abuse are at an all-time high but we still see the same arguments show up time after time.
“I have nothing to hide”“They already know everything about me”“I like Facebook and Google”
These statements don’t always come from a place of ignorance.

People, generally, know that Facebook and Google collects their data. Maybe not to the extent that they do, but people know they’re giving up information to use their services. Often time, these comments come from a place of disinterest or general skepticism.
There’s a perception that if you’re concerned about privacy, you’re trying to hide something or you bear a tin foil hat and shout conspiracies on the corner.

Basically, being private is currently seen as “not normal”.  
Some of this is self inflicted, with privacy enthusiasts jokingly calling themselves paranoid, weirdos, or nut jobs.

It may seem like it’s all in good fun but over time, it begins to reinforce that these beliefs and habits are atypical when they aren’t.
When we look at someone wearing a coat, we don’t suddenly wonder what they’re hiding. We think “oh, that person must be cold”.

Same thing with masks. Wearing a mask? You must either be sick or doing your part to prevent the spread of a global pandemic that’s killed over 215,000 people in the US coughwearyourmaskcough. The point is that it’s no longer seen as odd to walk around everywhere with a medical grade mask on your face. It’s been normalized.
This is the point we need to get privacy to and we do it by taking these actions ourselves. You might tell 10 people to use Signal and maybe one person does.

Even though the other nine aren’t using it, you’ve planted a seed in their mind. Next time one of their other friends or family member mentions downloading Signal, they’ll remember that you mentioned it a while back and will start to think “is this something I should be checking out?”Most People Will Humor YouMore often than not, your friends and family value you and respect your values even if they don’t share them.

Your friends may not humor you if you ask them to delete Facebook, but if you ask them to switch to a user-friendly app like Signal or Wire or ask them to use an encrypted email provider like ProtonMail, they’ll probably take you up on the offer.
Friends and family are, generally, willing to jump into their app store of choice and download an app to try it out.

People do it all the time for random games, apps that autotune your voice, or ones that make your head look like an alien. As long as you aren’t asking them to set up a server or some complex onboarding process, most people will download an app, jump through a two or three step registration, and test it out for you.

They may only use these apps with you and that’s perfectly fine.

It opens the door for you to explain to them why you want to use these apps, how it benefits them, and why they should get their friends and family to use them as well.

Content by badwoodboy