[15 March] Circuit: How Much Data Are You Leaking

How much Data are you Leaking Right Now?

Privacy is pivotal to free speech & expression, exploration, free flow of information, creativity and innovation. Basically, most of the things we talk about when we talk about ‘online development’ of children.

It was revealed last month that India is preparing to scale up its mass surveillance project. This could have an implication for everyone and everything. Will our children, willing/unwillingly, be forced to grow up in an Orwellian situation where the State & the Corporate are the ‘Big Brothers’- watching, studying and passing judgement on their every move?

As any school principal will gladly tell you – surveillance can lead to control. And absolute surveillance, well…..

Presenting Edition 3 of ‘Circuit‘, our monthly newsletter on children, internet & safety – ‘The Privacy Edition‘. Read On.

The Privacy Timeline

The voices fighting for our online privacy are louder than ever before. The struggle can only intensify in the coming months and years. Trends indicate more and more people switching to applications that respect & secure your privacy.

A cursory glance at the ‘The Privacy Timeline’ we have put together will show you why. Our privacy is an increasingly shrinking space and may even seem like a losing battle.  Laws, policies and platforms are hoping you believe that you would be better off/safer by relinquishing your privacy. Clearly, it’s time to take back the control.

(If we are missing something or getting something wrong, reply and let us know. If you have something to contribute, please send it in as well.)

How to Control your Data

The ability to maintain your online privacy is one of the indicators of your digital skills. It is crucial that both you and your children learn to effectively manage privacy risks while connected.

  1. Privacy & Security Basics
  2. Change Settings
  3. Block Trackers
  4. Use Alternative/Free/Open Source Tools
  5. Evaluate the Tools You Use

Me & My Shadow is an excellent resource directory for all your privacy related questions & queries.

Also, for something leaner-meaner, check out How to Reclaim & Protect Your Privacy in 10 Easy Steps.

Gendering Surveillance

Women have always been under stringent surveillance – from partners to parents to the state. This eye-opening piece by Internet Democracy that looks at the culture of surveillance with a gendered perspective. The experiences provide a wealth of information on what happens to those who are surveilled when they deviate from the expected norm. By gendering surveillance, the piece brings home, the depth and range of the harms of surveillance in the digital age.

Tim Berners-Lee: I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it.

28 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee imagined a technological utopia as he submitted his proposal for the world wide web. Today, three disturbing trends worry him – and the most pressing of those is that: We’ve lost control of our personal data.

He writes, “It’s easy to see the harm that can be caused – bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone all the time is simply going too far.”

Also, Click here to Know What Every Browser & Website Knows About You.

The Aadhar Situation

The largest biometric database in the world which holds private & personal data of over a billion continues to be a matter of worry & controversy. First, the data saw three breaches this past month – one of which involved data of over five lakh minors being publicly displayed on some random website.

Then, despite the lapses, the government of India declared the Aadhaar mandatory for mid-day meals at school, trafficking victims, pensioners and other essential services for vulnerable individuals. It was a brash move and in complete contravention to the Court – which continues to hold that the ‘Aadhaar’ is ‘Voluntary’. Jean Dreze calls the move illegal. Aruna Roy finds that it a regressive step in the fight for women’s rights.”

The Data That Turned The World Upside Down

Big Data means, in essence, that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. Not only can psychological profiles be created from your data, but your data can also be used the other way round to search for specific profiles: all anxious fathers, all angry introverts etc. This psycho-social persona can be used can & will be used against you..

Also Watch: The Power of Privacy, an excellent animated short film examining privacy through the ages.

Thanks for reading. See you next month!
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