Internet ‘s illusion of security

With the advent of the industrial revolution, came the invention of technology. With new inventions, came the decentralization of power and empowering people. Technology certainly has been the cause for a digital revolution in the modern era. Then came the Internet: one of the most loved and most used invention for mankind. How many of us can imagine life without internet. None. We create a ruckus when our Wi-Fi is down for some time. We go ballistic if we don’t have the data on our cell phones working. We need hotspot and a dongle both. It is no less than a basic need that compliments food, clothing and shelter. It acts as a guide to information, a tool for development, a source for downloads and a mediator for communication. It has facilitated living in the adverse of circumstances and so has it provided entertainment in the most joyous moments.

There are still many people in our country unaware of its use. How does a lay man identify with the internet? The answer could be Google. Every person, be it a techno savvy youngster or a completely oblivious homemaker will mainly relate Google with the internet. And who wouldn’t. Google has been successful in carving a niche in every aspect of the internet. Be it the most powerful search engine or a social networking platform, Google has left its mark. And the best part it continues to deepen these impressions on the internet map. Now what most of us don’t know is how Google also hides information despite its task being to display as much information that is available.

With the benefits of the internet come evils that every individual has to involuntarily come to terms with. With the ease of access comes greater exposure. Our personal information is now an open book. When you register into Gmail or Google plus you are asked to fill in your personal details. Now where do you think all this information goes? Deep down a Google database. How many of us think about this while registering to any site leave alone Google. When we link another site to our Gmail account for login and perform any transactions, our credit/debit card data is also stored. Everything that we give in to the internet is stored in a repository. When the company claims that our information is secure with them or they ensure our privacy is met, they certainly don’t mean that they don’t have a duplicate stored with them, they subtly imply that your information will never be leaked over the internet or will not be poached on by hackers or intruders. So as users of this invention we can only have faith in the license agreements we very ignorantly agree and press next to.

Another thing that most of the sites do these days is categorize the search data and display only the data that matches your previous searches. In each and every evil, the database or repository acts like the Satan keeping a track of all your activities. On the basis of these activities, the system runs a generic algorithm to identify your common interests and mindset depending on which it filters the search results on its own. Try this. Sit with a friend or a colleague and simultaneously search for the same thing on Google. Probably “Italy”. One might get entries regarding pictures, the history, etc. and the other say if he has been actively searching news events or political stories previously will get a search regarding the revolutions in Italy, the colonialism that existed, etc. Similar is the case with Facebook. It sorts your newsfeed depending on your close friends, the friends starred as favorites, etc.

So how are we going to have access to complete information without the illusion of always being monitored? How are we going to feel secure over an open medium? It is up to us to not be submissive towards these facts and always be vigilant while we work over the internet. It may act as a benefactor but it won’t take a mere click for it to become our indigenous malefactor.

Damini Naidu

technology enthusiast, trained bharatnatyam dancer, past-time philosophical writer, movie buff

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