Almost all of your communication, entertainment and commerce flows through a single channel, the Internet.
All there is to know about what you do on the Internet is tracked by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), the government and companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. That includes websites you visit, things you watch on Netflix, emails you send, phone calls you make At the most basic, that data is used for tracking, demographic analysis and targeted advertising. If that was all, it would be an invasion of your privacy but once you look a little deeper, you find that the reality is much, much worse.
The United States was founded on the unalienable rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Soon after, the right to privacy was recognized as common law and understood to be integral to the fulfillment of the others.
Modern life and the Internet is infinitely more complicated than the founding fathers could ever have imagined. In 2018, as a large percentage of many people’s life and work flows through the Internet, we are more exposed than ever. Privacy and the right to it are more important then ever.
Initially a tool for communication and eventually commerce, corporate interests and government oversight are now the driving forces. In the last twelve months, a series of events exposed things that had been happening behind the scenes for a long time and others that will dramatically changed how the Internet works from now on.
In April of 2017, President Trump quietly signed a law that allows your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to sell your personal information without your consent.
Net Neutrality was struck down by the FCC allowing your ISP to filter the content you see and throttle the speeds at which can access specific sites and/or services.
Equifax’s lax security allowed hackers to steal the extremely sensitive financial and personal information from millions of Americans.
Facebook allowed a partner, Cambridge Analytica, to steal large amounts of information about members, without their consent or knowledge, to be used for political targeting.
Recently a new law was passed that will hold online service providers legally responsible for the actions of the people that use their service. The equivalent of arresting the CEO of a phone company because a drug deal was made on a phone.
By themselves, each of these events has a significant affect. Together, they point to dramatically increased monitoring, profiteering and government oversight of the Internet and everyone on it. Add that to all the information that many people willing give up in exchange for free services and convenience and the future looks bleak.
Freedom is in retreat and Big Brother is watching.......everything.
If the majority of our media, communication, entertainment and a growing part of our commerce goes through the Internet and all of that is being monitored, are we really free?