The Dilemma Between Privacy and Convenience

How frequently do we actually consider the privacy cost of using internet platforms and services, for all the advantages they offer?

The COVID-19 pandemic unquestionably digitized our lives even further. Even before then, it’s been impossible to imagine a world without food delivery services, online banking apps, and social media. I’m sure we are all familiar with the the ‘enable cookies’ option almost every time we click on a website. While they’re intended to personalize and enhance your online experience while adding to your convenience when using a website, cookies leave crumbs. Those ‘crumbs’ allow websites to remember you and soon enough, you’ll find ads popping up on other social media platforms suggesting products, restaurants, etc. that you might like based on the ‘crumbs’ that you have left behind. However, it’s also important to think about how cookies can also be a major privacy risk and a treasure trove of personal information.

Giving up some privacy may make sense in certain situations, such as for strictly limited times and activities, in order to improve security. I believe that each person should be able to revoke some privileges whenever they one. Nonetheless, corporations and governments frequently take advantage of people who give up their privacy, thus security is rarely improved as a result. As a result, giving up privacy for security is usually not something that one should feel comfortable or obligated to do, especially not to governments and without taking precautions to prevent misuse.

Although these come with many risks, I am comfortable and willing to give up some of the personal information that I save in apps and online shopping sites, including my name, email address, phone number, and delivery address. I find that saving this information on only certain websites simply makes things a little more convenient when checking out. I’m also willing to give up my financial history and information regarding online banking because of the convenience of having my transactions and bank account summaries in the palm of my hand. It’s important to note that in order to protect my online banking accounts, I use strong unique passwords and change them often. I’ve also opted for two-factor authentification (2FA).

Overall, despite my best intentions, I often prioritize the internet’s conveniences over my online privacy and I’m learning to balance privacy and convenience. But at the end of the day, my privacy is simply mine and I should have control of it or, in the least, know who else is maintaining it and how.

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