Wait, How Much Data Do They Collect? – Recognizing the extent to which companies and governments access the personal data of customers and citizens:
Thanks to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the people of the United States of America have been fortunate enough to live in a society where they can depend on the freedom of privacy. There is, however, a great misunderstanding concerning how little privacy is actually present where the internet is concerned. The amount of information that governments collect about their citizens and that businesses collect about their customers is often overlooked. Every day, people scattered all over the world use the internet for storing and retrieving information and it is staggering how quickly they forget that all that information is accessible whether they want it to be or not. Everything typed in a web browser is stored on a server. Every status update is saved long after someone has changed their status. Deleted tweets may be removed from an account, but hosting companies maintain data long after it has been “deleted.” In an era where data collection is automated, people need to be conscious of their digital footprint as well as the hidden breadcrumbs of information dropped through simple internet use. The more data people give, the less data they control. Losing control of that data provides businesses and governments with information that allows them to make calculated judgments about their customers and citizens. Governments have access to metadata and use it constantly to make calculations about people that might be a threat. This opens many questions about governmental ethics and the privacy that people are, or should be, entitled to. Understanding how data is collected helps people to make better judgments about their internet use.