These last few weeks I’ve been reviewing and re-evaluating my Internet habits and the way that my online presence influences my life and in turn how I influence other people. With awareness of mass-surveillance at an all-time high I think it’s important to keep asking ourselves questions about our role in the progression towards veiled/blatant authoritarian regime shifts. If all this sounds Orwellian, it’s because it is.
Just a couple of weeks ago I installed an extension on my search engine that alerts me whenever a site tries to track my web activities and behavior. More often than not the amount of trackers falls somewhere between 4 and 13, or more, per website. (Since installing it (it’s free btw), the browser-tool has stopped over 5000 trackers. It’s creeping me out that I used to be ignorant of these numbers, but since I always suspected I was being tracked and stressed-out accordingly, I can’t even say that my ignorance was bliss.)
The worst offenders seem to be online newspapers and social networks (which was kind of obvious). Google’s invasion of privacy is just creepy when you realize they trawl your email to generate ads. [Wikipedia gets my heartfelt thanks for respecting my right to privacy, sans third-party trackers.]
When I visit a web-site, I don’t do so expecting there to be an entire spy-ring of information gathering happening behind the scenes while I read. That’s not what the Internet is meant for, it’s not something we should accept as the norm – ever, and we should talk about it, since keeping silent isn’t going to bring about change. The more we speak out and reclaim our right to privacy, the more movement and change we can bring about.
We have a right to inner quiet and stress-free privacy. We are humans living in an increasingly non-human world, and we need to hold on to the world’s collective kernel of wisdom and humanity.
I also want to share Pieter Hintjens’ project, which aims to build ”The Edge Net”. Watch the video and help spread the word. The world needs something like this, and it needs it now.