Why Privacy Matters

Even if you don’t “have anything to hide” your privacy should matter to you.

  1. Identity theft — the more your personal information is “out there” the easier it becomes to hack you, including accessing your bank accounts.
    Companies (that have your personal information) are getting hacked all the time. Your information can’t be stolen and sold if it isn’t out there in the first place.
    I have been hit by identity theft myself. Some time ago California State University had the breathtakingly stupid policy of using Social Security numbers for student numbers. Of course they were hacked, and a little later someone got a credit card in my name. I had to spend a few stressful hours trying to clean up my credit score and my name, as well as insuring I was not stuck with the bill. I had not given Cal State my real birthdate, which helped.
  2. Mistakes — the police, the taxman, and others make mistakes all the time, as well as have their own biases. It is just better to be off their radar than to get on their radar. Staying off the radar requires anonymity.
  3. Do you know you are supposed to pay taxes on air miles earned through work? There is a good chance you have broken some law you didn’t even know about and/or cheated on your taxes without even knowing it. The more freely available your information is, the more likely things will come back to bite you.
  4. Inconvenience — being targeted by advertisers (who have your personal information) is offensive, creepy, and annoying. The purpose of marketing is to manipulate your decisions to the advertisers benefit, not to your benefit. The more they know, the more you can be manipulated.
  5. Why should corporations profit off of your personal information? They have no right to do that, it belongs to you, not to them!

Are there benefits to corporations having your personal information?
Sometimes you are simply required to hand over your information to government agencies and various corporations (e.g. Equifax) in order to have access their services. Maybe you really like Apple or Google’s pay services.

In cases like the IRS or Equifax when they ask for your birthdate you need to provide it, but Google Email sure as shit does not need it, nor should you give it to them. Just give them a fake one. Did I give Medium.com the correct spelling of my last name? Why would I do that?

Protect your privacy. Keep your private information private, as best you can. Because privacy matters.

Related stories:

Man becomes suspect in burglary for riding a bike and allowing Google to track him, Google data leads to wrongful arrest for murder, How Google exploits your data, Has your data already been hacked?, Hacker bribes employee to show how easy it is to get access to personal data

Get Firefox, the browser you should be using (and remember to get the Privacy Badger plugin from EFF)

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