Why is privacy so important to me?
It isn’t. Not really. I am more concerned about being a conscious individual. We are in a rat race, continuously trying to optimize, simplify, and adopt whatever comes out next. I want to stop momentarily and think about my actions as I lead that path.
I believe that since privacy is so personal and related to an individual, caring about privacy would lead to people caring about themselves – their actions. As they try to proactively pursue their private lives in a highly digital and connected world, they will begin to see patterns of influence around behavioral modification – through advertisements, propagandas, posts, tweets, comments, etc. As they recognize this information as an influence, they will begin making decisions not based on influence but on choice. These actions would make them feel free, liberated, and in control. Consequently, as they continue to care about their identity, they will question other things and actions – why this, why that? Gradually but surely, this would lead them to become conscious individuals (Figure 1: Become Uninfluenceable). This approach has become a guideline for my actions.
Why don’t people adopt sustainable living? Why can’t they pursue a healthy lifestyle? Because they don’t care to think about them. They have to care about their choices enough to care about the environment. Being concerned about privacy and digital identity is a step in that direction.
Whatever I have learned at Parsons has been building me up to take control of myself – thinking about the world, about my impact on the planet – being a conscious individual.
Because of the discussions I have had on the invasion of our personal lives by technology, I control my social media and phone usage – I turn off all notifications and check my phone when I want to; I have limited my use of plastic and am taking steps towards sustainability because I have understood the impact one person can have on an issue as massive as climate change; I have limited ad tracking on my devices because of learning about the influence advertisements can have on our decisions.
Social media and the internet have become the face of the world. In the past, we could know about a person by talking to them. Today, we google them. That’s not to say that we cannot talk to them. We trust the information gathering medium to form our opinions. And, the medium trusts us to use it thoughtfully. What’s important here is that the medium would never tell us to be conscious, it will assume that we are. So, we should be.
Why do I care?
I don’t know. I think someone should care.
I am at a stage where I’ve learned enough about surveillance and data collection to know that I should do something about it. A part of that is about keeping my life private. And, an extension to that is to spread this message and empower other people to make their digital lives in control.
I have a habit of sharing what I learn, and it felt like the right thing to do. Perhaps because I want to be unique. I want to be that drop that fills the ocean.