Privacy : A myth !?

“There is a fundamental right to privacy, but it is a wholly qualified right since the right to privacy consists of various aspects and is a sub-species of the right to liberty, every aspect of it will not qualify as a fundamental right”

Attorney General KK Venugopal said this to a nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar which is going to decide whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right. This case has definitely made most of us focus our attention on an issue of critical importance in this digital era.

Well, I’m not going to get into a complete discussion of Right to Privacy, its constitutionality and various possible effects that verdict of this case can make. Because that might lead to a never-ending debate, it might bore many of my readers and I don’t consider myself eligible to talk about it. So, instead of all these, I’m going to focus ONLY on: whether there’s anything like ‘privacy’ in today’s world?

I know that sounds crazy. But not just our continuing willingness to provide companies like Facebook and Google our data for free that has spawned privacy threats, But the surveillance by governments, Corporations harvesting user data and from criminals, And hackers are also the areas of concern when it comes to violation our privacy.

Let’s start with comparatively simple privacy-violations. Right now before opening WordPress, I searched for some books on Amazon and when I opened some news portals in other tabs of the browser, there were ads for the same book from different e-commerce websites, some ads about coaching classes ( for the same exam for which that book is helpful ) that’s seems pretty cool but if you ponder a little you will understand that many companies can log your online visits in order to place ads tailored for your eyes specifically.

But I don’t think there’s anything necessarily sinister about this subterranean data exchange. After all, it is the bone marrow of the advertising ecosystem that supports free online content. All the data lets advertisers tune their ads, and the rest of the information logging lets them measure how well things are actually working. Also, companies like Google argue that all of this massive data collection does not intrude on our privacy because we are essentially “anonymous” to all the advertisers tracking our data since our names are not directly attached to all this data coursing through the veins of the Internet

Moving on to next level, let’s talk about the social media. The use of social media is growing exponentially.  Facebook, twitter, and other sites have become pervasive and entrenched in our society. The use of social media in any context, however, contains risk. But many of us (including me) blindly “ACCEPT the TERMS & CONDITION” in order to avail the service offered by companies like WhatsApp. So, we are also responsible for violating our privacy.

And when you put something on your social media account, bear in mind that you have made it public. Suppose you write a something on Facebook which you intended to share only with specific friends, and one of your friends takes that information and willfully shares it with someone else without your knowledge. That’s not right, right?

If I’m not wrong, the right to privacy does not exist with respect to pictures posted on a social networking site. And once posted online, this private information may be subject to discovery in litigation, even if it was subsequently removed.  Therefore, be careful with what you post on your social media accounts.

Talking about social media… there is also an issue of defamation of character.  But it’s entirely a different ball game. Defamation occurs when someone publishes false information about another person which causes shame, contumely or disgrace.  A violation of the right to privacy can occur when is what is being published is true. Let’s skip the discussion about this for now.

Let’s now jump on the serious issue…

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the WikiLeaks disclosure ( Vault 7 documents ) in the month of March, which revealed that the CIA and MI5 have an armory of surveillance tools that can spy on people through their smart TVs, cars, and cell phones. Leaked reports of these “intelligence agencies” have highlighted the variety of creative techniques that can be used to spy on individuals, at a time when many of us are voluntarily giving up our personal data to private companies and installing so-called “smart” devices with microphones, camera in our homes.

ciatv

This is a terrifying new method evolved in the 21st century where government spies essentially deploying viruses and trojans against their own citizens. Still, I believe that we can not tag these methods as completely good or bad. There’s always a gray area. And most importantly our opinion is not going to make any change.
Nonetheless, there’s always a threat of hackers. If documents of CIA & MI6 can be hacked. How secure are we?

All we can do is get serious about our data. At least try not to get into hackers’ trap…

See this message I received a few days back :

I still don’t understand how but many people believe in such crap and visit such links. Who knows what kind of trojan, viruses you are inviting by clicking on such links. Grow up guys, even if you just notice the URL, you’ll understand that it’s fake. { why a giant company like reliance will use Blogspot? 😂 } So, it’s my humble request to all of you that please check URL before visiting or filling any info on ANY site. { I have done a course on ethical hacking. So, I can tell you that traps can be set where you’ll think you’re on any famous website say Facebook for example but that might be just an illusion. But you can find this out by just checking the URL… illusion used for fishing will not show https://www.facebook.com in URL it will show some numbers instead }

And one last advice before ending this post: please check what kind of permissions you’re giving to any app before installing it. There are many apps which demand a disconcertingly huge number of permissions, more than they needed. For example, some photo editing app demanding permissions including access to the phone’s contacts, messages, IMEI number and USB storage.

I believe that there’s no PRIVACY as such in this digital era. But we can at least try to secure our privacy.

Even if Supreme Court recognize privacy as a fundamental right, we know that rights are subject to “reasonable restrictions”. I hope the Supreme Court will define the broad contours of the grounds for reasonable restrictions in order to safeguard our privacy.
If you are still reading this post, I guess you must have many thoughts in your head about this topic… please do share them in the comment box below 😉

– Mahesh Mali.

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8 thoughts on “Privacy : A myth !?

  1. Mahi… you are good observer… I can see, you are not active these days, but the very few posts you are posting are just amazing and full of information…I don’t think many of us or I can say any of us ever thought on this… thank you so much for this…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Privacy is hindered by these smart phones n our crap mind😂 whatever you mentioned.. Like reading term and conditions…. Visiting URls like the ss you posted.. I would have done it come back 😂… But yah.. Now onwards…. Check n thn visit.. Post is❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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