It has now been a year since the Equifax scandal, where hackers breached the financial data of over 140 million citizens. While the dust has barely settled, people have already forgotten about the incident and are taking less and less precautionary measures to secure their data. The question often asked by these individuals when chided about how they can be so lax with their data is ‘But what do I have to hide?’
‘What do I have to hide?’
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
These words hold more meaning now than ever in a world where large corporations like Facebook and Google have amassed virtually unlimited information, which they often choose to sell to various third parties. There are many reasons why you should care about this.
Privacy is a right
The right to privacy is a right that human beings have not always had. In most countries, it is still non-existent. Generations have fought for the privacy that we enjoy today and take for granted. Hence, we are now free to do and say whatever we want in the privacy of our homes. However, being casual with our data not only disrespects our history but also puts us at the risk of being censored.
Your data can fall into the wrong hands
Data in the wrong hands can be used by hackers to steal your valuables, tarnish your reputation, or even blackmail you. Credit card fraud and identity theft are some results of data being lost to these hackers. These alone cost consumers billions of dollars every year and can serve to disrupt their entire lives.
Your past could come back to haunt you
Comments or posts made online from years ago could be taken out of context and could cost you dearly. Employers these days, especially when hiring individuals for high positions conduct thorough due diligence, and the smallest of statements could come back to bite you and even cost you your job.
Corporations could use your data to influence you
Large corporations assimilate vast amounts of data. They use this data to coax consumers into buying products, behaving in a certain way, and even changing the way the customers think to suit their agenda. This is extremely harmful to the future of mankind and puts all the power in the corporations’ hands.
Respecting others’ privacy
Even if you feel that you are not concerned about your personal privacy, it is essential to take into account of others who might be affected by a breach of your privacy. Furthermore, individuals such as victims of domestic or sexual abuse, activists, police officers and even public figures require privacy to make sure their families are safe.
How do we amend this?
Blockchain is built on a highly encrypted, decentralized, ledger. It stores data and records transactions which are verified and managed by a peer-to-peer network. Hence by definition, blockchain technology is not regulated or controlled by a central authority. This makes the possibility of hacking, manipulation or misappropriation of your data virtually impossible. The transactions conducted on a blockchain are highly encrypted and grant the involved parties complete anonymity while ensuring they are processed without any errors. Blockchain technology also allows you the right to select which forms of data you want to transfer to which party with absolute transparency. Furthermore, it enables you to fine grain your controls and revokes your access at any point you choose to.
Hence, it is safe to conclude that your personal data should not be trusted in the hands of third-parties, especially without your knowledge and consent. Instead, you should have the right to pick and choose who has access to it and under what circumstances. Amidst the failure of traditional systems and the increase in breaches, blockchain technology can serve as a beacon of light in times where no data is truly secure and usher in an era of privacy and confidentiality.
What are your views on data privacy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Finance student who has a keen interest in securities markets and new technologies.