The concept of privacy has shifted from the connoted right it once was to a fading dream. Where family discussions once never left the dinner table, what a person does and thinks are now plastered across social media in a way once deemed unthinkable because it simply “wasn’t anyone’s business” not that long ago. Now, everything is everyone’s business, and this change in culture has come about largely if not solely because of technology.

Sure, social media has played a large part in changing the way people share information, making what was once personal now more or less public domain. However, there are more subtle forces at work. One common instance many people overlook is the simple request of an app to access your phone’s contacts.

This one has brought up much debate in one way or another, largely revolving around why a certain app needs access to one’s contacts and what the company or service claims to do with it – as well as what they actually do with it – but while important, that’s only one angle of the polygon.

What’s more disturbing is the question of how many of your contacts are allowing access to their contact information. You can be exactingly privacy-conscious – not granting more permission than an app needs to function at a basic level, never allowing an app into your contacts or photos, and refusing to use services that require this access – but if a single person with you in their contacts does grant permission to an app or service, your information is out there forever. It’s no longer sufficient to reject an app from uploading your information to protect yourself, because someone else is altogether too likely to upload their information of you.

So what is the solution? That’s an excellent question, and I’m not sure there’s a solid answer. Any technologically well-rounded individual you know likely has you in their smartphone’s contacts, and without a second thought could send that data off through the Internet in under a second. The same idea applies to photos they have of you – even if you don’t store them in the cloud or share them to social media, someone else might. The only way to prevent this completely is to cut off contact with people and live under a rock, which, while admittedly tempting, isn’t a viable option for most.

Perhaps privacy is more dead than we realize…

  • Роман Жихаревич

    People should at least read books like “1984” and “Brave New World” and also listen to people like Richard Stallman. Without that they won’t understand the purpose of privacy and dangers of “consumer society”.

  • Maybe we can tokenize everything like Apple Pay does. For example, phone number in contacts is a token that carriers can resolve to the actual number, and the token is replaced once a month or so. New tokens are pushed to your friends and authorized parties. In this way, even you changed your number, they won’t have outdated information.

  • Ampe

    I don’t care. I’m a good person, I’ve nothing to hide

    • thunderqus

      Just because you are nice, would you allow access to your house to anyone? we need privacy even if we are nice or very nice.

    • Neither did the German Jews in 1930, to be honest.

    • Scope

      Please provide me with your bank details including card number and email and password. No need to message me just post it right here. Thanks

    • Cory Cucumber

      Spoken by someone who has absolutely no idea of world history.
      I hope you were home schooled.

    • Digitalfeind

      Always an idiot like you that just does not get it. Would you let strangers into your house or rifle through your stuff?? Probably not. And why?? The same reason we all wouldn’t, we want our privacy. It doesn’t matter if you have something to hide or not.

      • Ampe

        All of you made stupid examples. Of course I wouldn’t give my card number. That’s not what the article speaks about. If so it is, I got it wrong and I’m sorry

    • BuddhaBr0wnies

      If you really have nothing to hide like you say you do, then please do PM me or email me with all of
      your information and all of your email accounts and social media accounts and passwords to each one of your accounts, so I can
      go through your stuff and really see if you have nothing to hide. Unless you do have something to hide…

      Here is a good quote to think about in the mean time while you decide if you have something to hide or not… lulz 🙂

      Over the last 16 months, as I’ve debated this issue around the world,
      every single time somebody has said to me, “I don’t really worry about
      invasions of privacy because I don’t have anything to hide.” I always
      say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email
      address. I say, “Here’s my email address. What I want you to do when you
      get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not
      just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them,
      because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you’re doing
      online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find
      interesting. After all, if you’re not a bad person, if you’re doing
      nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.” Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.

      -Glenn Greenwald

      • Ampe

        Cause you’re apparently stupid. I never talked about information like this, obviously no privacy has limits. No-one would permit to a site to know their card code

  • George

    That is why I don’t use icloud, I think people are insane for putting their data into the cloud no matter how much you trust apple.

    • chuckisbusy

      I think you meant to day Google right? Gmail/Google is a more invasive than iCloud.

      • George

        Have you seen how apple took zero responsibility for the massive icloud hack with female celebrities?

      • It arguably wasn’t Apple’s responsibility, because the attackers got the celebrities’ passwords through phishing. They didn’t actually breach iCloud’s servers aside from simply logging in with the correct authentication details.

      • George

        Which is why I do not use cloud services. I don’t care what company offers the service.

      • jamesdbailey

        So no Gmail, Google Photos, Google now? Nothing like that at all? Or did you not know those are cloud services?

      • George

        Yes I use Gmail just not Google photos or Google now

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        Cloud services are great, just don’t put EVERYTHING on them, keep it simple like music, notes, movies etc, then if someone gets into them it wouldn’t matter cause it’s something that people listen, watch, or write down.

      • Kroffy

        Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon… They are all the same. Come on, it’s not because Tim Cook once said “We care about privacy” that this is true! When it’s free, you are the product. And iCloud is free…

      • Chang in Charge

        How is iCloud free? The cost of iCloud is most certainly baked into the cost of the devices we purchase from Apple. And beyond a certain amount of storage iCloud is not free.

      • Kroffy

        You can create an Apple ID and get 5 Gb of iCloud storage without even owning an Apple product… So what, they give you this amount of space because they are good, and only because they are good ? I don’t know, man, in this world… the awakening will be tough.

      • Chang in Charge

        Despite being able to open an account for free without a device I still think that the cost is baked into the price of the products. What can you even do with an iCloud account without an Apple device.

      • Rowan09

        Google makes money directly on people’s info while Apple doesn’t directly do so. Apple is more into privacy than Google. I’m not sure about Amazon and Microsoft.

      • askep3

        I agree with you, and that’s why iPhones cost way more than other phones

        I read somewhere that google doesn’t care about the money from android phones themselves, but from more people having access to their ads

      • Rowan09

        Exactly that’s why they care less about the Nexus or Moto phones selling. Google doesn’t care about hardware just services.

      • askep3

        Exactly, I don’t know where I read it but it makes total sense.

      • Jonathan

        I think you meant to say “say” right?

    • BooBee

      I actually have a bit more trust in Apple’s security over Google or DropBox. Googles ability to search photos and sort them is just creepy. That’s why all my cloud account files are fully encrypted. While the encryption is a minor inconvenience it gives me piece of mind that my files remain my files even if it’s stored in Googles house with lock & key.

      • askep3

        What do you have against Dropbox? Just wondering since you only talked about google. I consider Dropbox relatively safe, maybe not as much as Apple but very close?

      • BooBee

        I’d have liked to include links (evidence of my opinion) but I can’t find older articles at the moment. I used DropBox a lot when it first came out and recall buzz about Dropbox employees being able to see user files with minimal security on their corporate side. Then after that debacle there was the issue of general security which is why Dropbox reacted with enabling two-step authentication. They didn’t enable two-step as a proactive approach it was more a reactive response to major security concerns.

        Apple in my opinion is iron clad! Sure the media gobbled up the celebrity hack but I do believe that was due to weak passwords not necessarily Apple security though they did address it. Apple had two-step prior to that media frenzy.

        In light of NSA snooping I’ve just gone all out encryption for my cloud accounts so that nobody can see my files except me. I hate sounding like an Apple fan boy but they really have proven reliable and I own several Samsung devices with my preference being Apple.

      • askep3

        Yeah I might sound like a fanboy too but Apple really is really good with privacy and security, I mean any company can claim security but the importance is that even they don’t have access to our info.

  • Merman123

    As the internet continues to evolve, so do the ways we deal with information and personal data. You will always be at risk and you should have that in mind at all times. That’s all. The advantages are much greater than the risks and it’s the future. I drive every day to work and there’s a good chance I could crash at any given time. Still that doesn’t mean I’m not going to drive.

  • Micrones

    Data is the biggest commodity out there in the techworld. Any service that is free and requires registration acquires your data, the degree just differs from one company to the other and how they chose to disclose it. Google is open to telling you what they will do with your data as we all know the nature of their business, others will not tell you but use your data for other purposes.
    People are so gullible to believe Apple does not use their data because Apple said so….. which is very silly.

    Unless a company is monitored by a third party for privacy controls, do not believe them, which includes Google, Apple, Microsoft etc

    Unless you are new to how IT and data analytics works, because a company said that we don’t use your data does not mean they don’t have your data stored/collected and can mine it whenever they chose to, all it takes is writing a new code or query.within a couple of minutes.

    Once you register for any free service, there goes your privacy, irrespective of the T&C details

  • n0ahcruz3

    When you’re online your privacy is already compromised, if u truly want to be off the grid, just live in the boondocks!

  • Rowan09

    Post 9-11 people started to care less about privacy at a false claim of security.

  • Victor Molina

    Some shows actually explain how pointless it is to maintain your data private. Shows like person of interest and mr robot. Sure they are just TV shows but the cia FBI and other agencies do collect your data even if your nice or not

  • Aqeel Ahmed

    Yes… That’s why I say “Nothing is private on internet. Don’t talk private.”