My data? Not worth a penny

Column

14-11-2014

Fifteen months ago, the first revelations about how intrusively the NSA and other intelligence agencies are spying on their and other countries' citizens hit the world. The media were buzzing. One after the other news message told us more about the disclosures by Edward Snowden and Co. Media, politicians and the people were talking about the infringement of principal freedoms, the right to privacy and the necessity for increasing data protection. But what happened during the next fifteen months is astonishing: nothing.

Time went on. Other news marked the headlines. Politicians turned to the euro crisis, the happenings in Crimea and Ukraine, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, … you name it. The disclosures by Edward Snowden now seem forgotten. To be honest, I am not surprised about media and politicians. Although I do not embrace this fact, it is basically expected that the most recent world events overshadow the “old” problem of the infringement of privacy rights. The problem is, the internet is barely regulated and in order to change that would require global consent and voluntary action. Realistically speaking such action is not very likely to come soon, yet necessary.

But the question that arises in my head is: do the people not care what happens to their data? Have they in fact ever cared?

Some of my experiences in the last months gave me a clear answer. I was trying to avoid unnecessary data delivery to some of the intelligence agencies' main sources by starting to switch e-mail providers and messaging apps. I informed my family and friends about my reasons: Maybe it is not easy to stop intelligence agencies from collecting your data, but it is easy to at least stop giving their partners voluntarily (since knowingly) more input. I tried to convince them to do the same. The answers I received are striking: “I know it would be better, but it is too much effort!”. And a friend responded to the suggestion to use an encrypted messaging app with a price of 1,79€: “No, I generally do not pay for applications.”

No, they really never have and do not care. Their data are not even worth a few clicks or 1,79€. Sad. So sad.

 

Catharina Rudschies

Alumna European Studies

My data? Not worth a penny
Catharina
Author: Redactie

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