An image demonstrating 3 security cameras 2 being of different types

Everybody knows that the issues of privacy and data protection are drawing significant attention, and the line differentiating business success and data intelligence is gradually becoming indistinct but just a few people can protect themselves from companies that use data to their advantage.

As businesses are collecting massive volumes of information for various purposes, with privacy breaches becoming a disturbing reality, this article aims to shed light on this alarming trend and suggest possible solutions to counteract the situation.

The Ubiquitous Data Collection And Its Profound Impact On Personal Freedom

The practice of businesses monitoring every click, search, and social media post has raised profound concerns. It's not just an invasion of privacy anymore, but a looming threat to personal freedom.

The sheer magnitude and depth of data collected can outline the daily routine of any individual, including interests, and personal life, akin to a constant shadow, tracking every move and action. Real-world actions are equally under watch, and people are living in something that may be called “real-world surveillance”.

A Surveillance That Isn't Limited To The Digital Sphere

The use of facial recognition technology, tracking of consumer behavior in stores, and analysis of patterns from CCTV footage are just a few examples of what was mentioned above in this article, and this disturbing reality has far-reaching implications, potentially leading to loss of individual autonomy and an increase in manipulation and control by corporations.

Even McDonald's can be an example of that “creeping surveillance”! Its transition from a physical sticker system to a digital app. With this shift, the company now has access to customers' financial details, geographical location, and internet browsing habits.

How To Counter The Growing Threat

First of all, every business and brand should be held accountable for their actions, and penalties for violations should be steeper. The other three steps to follow are listed below.

  1. 1. Implement stringent regulations that prohibit unauthorized collection and usage of data.
  2. 2. Empower consumers with control over their data, including deciding what information is collected and how it is used.
  3. 3. Educate people (public education) about the significance and impact of data privacy.

Complex issues arise when companies claim to value people's privacy, and that happens because, in reality, many companies monetize people's privacy, often with their consent.

This data consistently generates billions of dollars, even for small-scale developers and businesses. A small dataset from a few individuals can be worth thousands of dollars, contributing to in-depth personal profiling.

The “Creeping Surveillance” Should Not Be Normalized

Privacy needs to be considered a fundamental human right.  Therefore, data collection needs to be a choice and companies should provide options – including the choice to opt-out entirely. This approach builds trust and allows customers to choose their comfort level with tracking.

The implementation of GDPR in 2018 was a wake-up call for real, but ubiquitous commercial surveillance keeps presenting a critical challenge in today's society.

Concrete steps need to be taken to safeguard individual privacy and data protection. Striking a balance between the needs of businesses and the rights of individuals is paramount.

For now, as an informed consumer is an empowered consumer, keep reading our articles to explore with us every method that can be used to preserve your privacy, as reclaiming it once lost can be a grueling task.