How Technology Can Both Help and Hurt Our Privacy

Over time, societies have advanced, leading to both the inception and consumption of new, advanced technology. We have gone from wagons to cars and from candles to electricity. Similarly, the need to protect one’s privacy and data while online was recognized, and over time, newer, better technology came into the mix. Here is an interesting read on how to stay safe and protected online. The answers to this conundrum are VPNs, browsers like ToR, and ad blocker tools that reroute traffic, keep us anonymous and provide us with a cookie-free browsing experience. 

merits and demerits of technology

Beware, though, some recent technological advancements are being used to spy on us rather than keeping our identities protected. Some apps use features like facial recognition and access to our phone’s front and back cameras – even when we are not using that app – which allows these companies to always keep an eye on us and fringe on our privacy. All the more reason to ante up on digital privacy, being ushered into the ultimate age of surveillance. 

Use of surveillance technologies 

As shown on Netflix’s Black Mirror, Uncle Sam is spying on us to “protect” us. The government, companies that have access to our phones, and advertisers use features like facial recognition, location monitoring, and electronic money to keep tabs on our whereabouts and what we do. With facial recognition, people who don’t upload their photos on their social media or prefer not to have their faces seen for personal reasons cannot be at peace. Why? There is a digital copy of their faces with these very companies and tech giants. 

The same applies to location monitoring and GPS, how you get SMS-es and promotional emails based on your search queries and location. Electronic money transfers give these companies and advertisers a sense of your financials – something no one would otherwise know about unless you tell them – and they approach you with offers accordingly. 

There is a key to every lock, however, as the proverbial saying goes. We present to you a three-way remedy. 

VPNs

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are the first things that come to mind when we talk about online privacy. You browse incognito with a VPN-powered connection, granted anonymity via a private network from a public internet connection. VPN use helps create secure and encrypted connections that provide greater privacy than even a super-secure Wi-Fi hotspot. 

Tor Browser

That onion your tech friend might have recommended to you? Yep, that’s Tor. Tor is open-source software that enables people to browse the web anonymously. It redirects internet traffic meandering through an overlay network that is free of cost and worldwide. More than seven thousand relays are present on this network, and a user’s location and usage are easily kept hidden from network surveillance corporations and traffic analysts. Want privacy? Then, Tor is what you’re looking for. 

Privacy Browsers

Last but not least, we’ve got privacy browsers for you. You get all the annoying offers and promotional marketing messages because browsers track your activity, and then companies add you to their “best friends we must always message” list. Privacy browsers like Brave, Firefox Focus, Epic, Vivaldi, etc., help you stay hidden from view from these marketing vultures.  Here are four web browsers that really care about your privacy. 

Conclusion

Using technology is a balancing act. While facial recognition and other features are a blessing, they can also be curses. It depends on what side of the field you are on. Since technology can help and hurt our privacy, we must steer clear of everything attempted to gain an edge on us while also using it for its positive aspects. 

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