Taking Back Our Privacy

from The New Yorker

Walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the retail strip in Venice, California, can feel like scrolling through Instagram. One afternoon this July, people sat at outdoor tables beneath drooping strings of fairy lights, sipping cocktails and spearing colorful, modestly dressed salads. The line for Salt & Straw, a venture-funded, “chef-driven” ice-cream shop, stretched up the block, and athleisure-clad twentysomethings photographed themselves eating waffle cones, fabric masks pulled down around their chins like turkey wattles. A month earlier, Abbot Kinney had become a central gathering place for protesters during the mass demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism. Moxie Marlinspike, who firmly supported the protests, noticed that many of the high-end businesses, fearing looters, had boarded up their windows, then decorated the plywood with murals and messages in support of Black Lives Matter. “It kind of reminded me of how, right after the Russian Revolution, a lot of the zeks—the sort of criminal underclass—would get full-chest tattoos of Marx and Lenin and, later, Stalin because they thought the Bolsheviks would be less likely to kill them,” he joked, as we wandered along the Venice Beach boardwalk.

Marlinspike is the C.E.O. of Signal, the end-to-end encrypted messaging service, which he launched in 2014; he is also a cryptographer, a hacker, a shipwright, and a licensed mariner. Tall and sinewy, with the build of a natural athlete who abstains from team sports, he was wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, black Teva sandals, a denim jacket, and a white N95 mask. He has blond dreadlocks, which he had tucked under a blue cap. An avid surfer, he had been living in the neighborhood with friends for about two years, but, aside from the ocean, it held little appeal for him. “Living in Venice is like living at the end of the world, the end of history,” he told me, dryly. “All the decisions have been made. This is the world we get.”

Signal’s growth has corresponded to periods in which decisions are questioned or undone—to moments of social and political upheaval. With end-to-end encryption, the content of every communication—a text message, a video chat, a voice call, an emoji reaction—is intelligible only to the sender and the recipient. If an exchange is intercepted, by a hacker or a government agency, the interloper sees a nonsensical snarl of letters and numbers. Signal does not share growth metrics, but in late 2016 Marlinspike told the Times that the number of daily Signal downloads had grown by four hundred per cent since the election of Donald Trump. This summer in the U.S., the service was flooded with an estimated several million new users. In early July, after China imposed a sweeping national-security law, Signal was briefly the most downloaded app in Hong Kong. The Electronic Frontier Foundation includes Signal in its “Surveillance Self-Defense” guide; Edward Snowden, a friend of Marlinspike, has endorsed it for years.

All this has given Signal a halo of subversion, but Marlinspike believes that encrypted-communication tools are necessary not just in times of political tumult. Most people who use social networks and chat services, he argues, assume that their digital communications are private; they want to share their thoughts and photographs with their friends—not with Facebook and Google, not with advertisers, and certainly not on the dark Web. “In a sense, I feel like Signal is just trying to bring normality to the Internet,” he said as we sat on a patch of grass near the beach. “A lot of what we’re trying to do is just square the actual technology with people’s intent.” He plucked two small feathers out of the grass, rolled them between his fingers, and planted them upright in the dirt.

More here.

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22 Comments

  1. We are living in a “digital age,” which means that we are living most of our lives online. Companies all around the world are saving data about us, most of these companies being social media such as: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Everything that we post publicly and sometimes even privately is being stored somewhere and being looked at. We had a discussion in class October 21st, 2020 about privacy and how companies can track the things we buy, what we watch on the internet, where we go and even what happens in our own homes (amazon echo, ring doorbell, etc). With all the info that is gathered by all these companies they create profiles of us and create marketing strategies around what the can find. Information that is posted publicly can be stored by anyone that finds it, your private messages with people can be intercepted by government, advertiser, and criminals, applications like Signal have risen in popularity after stores about a big company storing health files of people that use there applications (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/11/business/google-ascension-health-data.html). Signal ,and other apps like it, keep it so you and the other person you are communicating with are the only ones that can see the messages being sent, unlike Whats App or other messengers Signal does not have access to your “metadata.” With all the information that these companies get you would think it would be illegal but we agree to the companies terms of services so it does not matter after that point, we agreed to give the companies all that information, the more tech driven the world becomes the more information will be out there that we didn’t even know about.

  2. As we talked about in our last live class, you need to develop digital hygiene, just like how you have personal hygiene. There are ways to send mail securely, so that nobody could open or compromise the contents, take for example the mail-in ballot this year. There are certain measures put in place that ensure that only the sender and recipient can read what is enclosed. This has to be true online as well. When you are sending a letter, the only breach in security can be by somebody who works for the mailing service and comes in contact with you letter at the time. Online, so many different people can intercept your “mail” and compromise it. Instead of the only change of an invasion is by random postal workers, now anyone with access to the internet can intercept mail. Texting, emails, even calls are all things that are vulnerable to hacking. I know everyone is different, but some very sensitive information can be sent through email or text. While you are not supposed to ever text important passwords, bank numbers, social security numbers etc., the reality is that many people do that. And when most people communicate over the internet, they think that the things they say are protected. Some people send some crazy things over the internet. Since it is so convenient, most ignore all of the security risks. I am one of those people for sure, I am not trying to say I am above that. The problem is that anyone can tap in and see what you are saying. While many people might say that they do not care if their messages are read and that they have nothing to hide, those people are terribly misinformed. While you may not be breaking any major laws, which is what most people talk about when having something to hide, that is not the point. The hackers may not care about your information, but the people they sell the information to may care. Household companies use everyday use this information, without us knowing. Some people may be put onto watchlists without us even knowing. It is a scary world out there, with even scarier people.

  3. Privacy in this day and age is really non existent. There are always devices listening and watching and sometimes it isn’t even your own pieces of technology. There are cameras everywhere in public and they are always on and watching what is going on. Many devices like Google Homes and Amazon Echos just sit in your house and are meant to listen to the sound of your voice and adapt to different things that you like or request. Some are even connected to various things in your house like lights, cameras, HVAC and locks on doors. These devices really can control a lot of your life and can advertise themselves as providing benefits to your daily life. They can provide benefits, but they are always listening because they are meant to learn everything about you. They aren’t the only things in our lives that listen though, I even had experience in that department today. I told my parents that I was going to a chain restaurant to get some food for lunch and I proceeded to go there, get my lunch and eat it at home. Later I was on my phone just minding my business and I got an ad on my phone for that same restaurant about an hour later. Obviously this is evidence of my phone listening to me talk about this place or seeing that I went to the location during the day. I think I only mentioned it out loud once to my parents, but that was all it took for my phone to realize that I liked the establishment. It was trying to show me that I could go there again, find coupons, or receive various deals to eat there. This is just one of many times that this has probably happened to me or someone else. It shows that even when we don’t think that our technology is trying to gain data on us, the devices are listening and trying to provide us with ads that they think that we will enjoy. Instead they are telling people that nothing is ever private and there is always something out there watching or listening.

  4. In our day and age privacy practically does not exist anymore. Our phones, alexas, and other digital devices are always listening to our conversations. From personal experience, I was looking at surfboards online, and when I went onto my social media (Instagram) all I was getting was surfboard ads. That being said that is only the tip of the iceberg with privacy becoming non-existent. Right now the easiest way to reach out to someone is not face to face but via social media platforms or email. This is definitely affecting the social skills of the younger population. Technology basically hinders any individual to keep their personal information private. In order for me personally to get a job in the future, I have to register with Linkin, Indeed, or other networking companies that will help me find potential jobs. When registering for anything, the credentials needed, usually consist of email, phone number, school graduation date, upon other things. Another issue with privacy today, would be how accessible public records are for anyone with a cell phone and stable internet connection. Unfortunately, everything we do is always monitored and recorded. This is my opinion is more negative than positive. Granted this will keep the public well informed. Personally, I do not like having my personal information at the fingertips of anyone in the world. There are many scams where hackers will hack an individual’s information, and sell it to people who do malicious things. Having people’s information on the internet can cause a sense of uncertainty, but unfortunately, our world is moving towards a more digital take on society. Only time will tell if they improve security to protects everyone’s personal information and identity.

  5. Privacy is no longer a human right granted to everyone, it is now something we have to fight for because it is being abused. Primarily digital lives now have given companies all over the world access to data about us that we can’t even ourselves identify. Listening, tracking, and seeing everything we do our personal lives are no longer personal but the companies knowledge too. We can search something on google or mention something to your friend, and when you open Instagram suddenly ads appear advertising the item you were discussing others like that. Yet people are comfortable giving out all there info just to have it used against them, why? I myself try to keep my data to myself a fair amount and am aware of the companies using my data to try and sway my choices but most people, and younger generations now coming up are not aware of the data they sacrifice. We need to educate people on the data and information being taken from them and used against them and others. Algorithms now control the internet and I don’t see it stopping soon and because of that our data is going to be continued to be used against us for our own manipulation. If we all become aware of this and protect our own digital privacy it will further protect all of us and keep less of our believed private data, public data.

  6. Privacy is something we all want, but in this day in age, simply we cannot have it. A method that allows privacy, from what we can tell, is end-to-end encryption which is when a message is only seen by the sender and the receiver. If the exchange becomes intercepted, the only thing they will see is an array of random numbers and letters. When China imposed a security law, many people downloaded Signal, so it can keep people out of their privacy. With the technological advances that occur during our time, it is pertinent that we keep our personal information safe. Supporters of end-to-end encryption argue that backdoors will be targets for adversaries, terrorists and hackers, but many argue that end-to-end encryption can be shielded. If this is the case, then there maybe be possibilities to secure your private information. It is up to us when making these changes to properly secure our private info. When searching basic information into google, many people can find your phone number and address from googling your name. It is very unsettling that almost anyone can know where you live and gives us an unsure feeling. We need to make a change in security of private information and it needs to happen now.

  7. The article started with a descriptive imagery of a location in Venice, California. I almost didn’t understand what the purpose the author was trying to make until I read through the rest of the article. I liked how she slowly guids the readers through a vivid picture of the scenery that has a large significance instead of jumping right to the objective.
    “It kind of reminded me of how, right after the Russian Revolution, a lot of the zeks—the sort of criminal underclass—would get full-chest tattoos of Marx and Lenin and, later, Stalin because they thought the Bolsheviks would be less likely to kill them,” Her quote truly represents how I see many of the boarded up signs on every store. I feel as if many business owners put ‘Black Lives Matter’ over their boarded up signs to prevent any protesters from destroying and looting them, whether or not they support the cause. I understand that reasoning because I would do the same if I wasn’t a supporter of the BLM movement. It is a crazy world out there and I don’t condone the damaging of property and looting of stores, but there isn’t a way to prevent all of that so people must do what they feel to protect themselves.
    “With end-to-end encryption, the content of every communication—a text message, a video chat, a voice call, an emoji reaction—is intelligible only to the sender and the recipient. If an exchange is intercepted, by a hacker or a government agency, the interloper sees a nonsensical snarl of letters and numbers.” I personally love the Signal app and the service it provides. The world as it is has no privacy whatsoever, even today the government is working on upgrading national security from China by banning their apps TikTok and WeChat. The Signal app is a brilliant invention because only the sender and receiver may understand the messages, but if an intruder tries to hack into their conversation, the message would be unreadable with random number and letter replacements. The app has served an even bigger purpose. It started with just individuals using it for private conversations, but now major companies and government officials use the app for maximum security of confidential information. I hope Signal continues to support and exercise our freedom of privacy.

  8. Living in today’s day and age, privacy is something we all want, but can’t always have. When we’re online we have a digital footprint that follows us everywhere. Everything that we post will always be there, there is no way to escape it. We have to take precautions when looking up searches, emailing, or even what we post on the internet. Nothing will ever truly be erased. There’s a documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma which basically explains that what we say, search or the apps we use affect our daily lives. You could be talking to a friend about a certain brand and then you open up Instagram or Facebook and you get an advertisement for that same product you were just talking about. This shows that we truly do not have any privacy when it comes to being online. This is a very serious matter because what we do online will always follow us around. This will later affect what our future employers or anyone and how they view on. There needs to be more privacy laws so we can truly be safe online.

  9. Being a society so heavily reliant on technology and social media, there really is very little privacy. As much as an individual tries to protect the information they put out on the internet, for the most part it does not stay private. Technology has made so many advancements in society possible but has also began in recent years to pose a large threat to our privacy and security. I thought this quote from the article was intriguing, “Enforcing laws, Marlinspike believes, should be difficult. He likes to say that “we should all have something to hide,” a statement that he intends not as a blanket endorsement of criminal activity but as an acknowledgment that the legal system can be manipulated, and that even the most banal activities or text messages can be incriminating.” Marlinspike was saying that sometimes it is necessary to challenge a law or engage in certain criminal activities for a change to be made. This is what he believes will bring change and security to our very digital lives. I think Marlinspike is right about this, laws need to be challenged and sometimes even broken for any real change to come. I think one of the scariest and alarming things about the lack of digital security right now is the amount of criminal activity and child exploitation that takes place in digital spaces undetected. The article briefly touches on this, but I think it is a very large issue that needs to be addressed. In all honesty, technology has made so many aspects of life much easier and efficient. It is hard to even imagine a life before the technology and social media we have now. That being said, it is also pretty alarming how much information there is out on the internet about individuals without them even knowing. I think the signal app is an incredibly smart invention and has the ability to give people the security we all long for. I do agree though that there are a lot of unknowns with end to end encryption. Although it may protect us and give us privacy we want, it also has the potential to protect the wrong people.

  10. In the world today privacy is not guaranteed and to some it can be considered a luxury. Many believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government as well. People in general value their privacy and the protection of their personal data. Individuals value some control over who knows what about them. Recent advances in technology have threatened privacy and have reduced the amount of control over personal data and opened up the possibility of a wide range of threats and consequences as a result of access to personal data. Most people would agree that they do not want their personal information out there to be accessible to just anyone at any time. Data-driven products and services are often marketed with the potential to save users time and money. Companies use and sell data frequently because they can make a lot of money out selling information and they can predict what different consumers want/need depending on information gathered about that particular individual. A majority of people believe that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits.

  11. Privacy and internet technology seem to never go hand in hand. Technology has made most of our lives much easier, but it comes at the cost of our privacy. On one hand a college student writing a paper may not need to spend countless hours in a library thumbing through books, Alexa can make a food shopping list without anyone having to sit and write everything down, and even the collection of data used for target marketing makes our lives easier. If someone searches google for handbags, they will get flooded with ads of handbag retailers, making their shopping experience easier. On the other hand, our information is out there for the taking by criminals. Everyone has to worry about identity theft, and parents have to worry about the safety of their children.
    End to end encryption is wonderful for organizations with proprietary information that should not be distributed. However, what will be the real use of this type of messaging. Will it be used by the everyday person, or will it just be another way for criminal enterprises to protect themselves. That may be a little concerning. Although we should be entitled to our privacy, it does get a little scary, if people are using this as a means to communicate for criminal activities.

  12. We are living in difficult and different times. Privacy is not what it used to be and we contribute to it every single day. The first sentence of this article caught my attention, since I had heard it a couple times before. This past year, I’ve heard many people call LA a “real-life instagram” and I thought it was interesting. It’s amazing to see how trends, fashion, food, etc. can just change so drastically and go from nothing, to the most popular talk of the town. People are constantly making everything public, not just big moments, but little ones, such as a salad for lunch. It has become more and more normal to share every single aspect of our lives constantly with the world. I had never heard of Signal, so this was very interesting for me to read about. I believe it’s a great idea to “bring normality to the Internet”. I think it’s very interesting that Marlinspike, the CEO is also a hacker and a cryptographer. I think it’s great to see a platform that gives you the confidence to have private conversations and that it’s always aware of hackers. It’s amazing to see how many people have been using this app for different reasons and the amount of positive feedback it has gotten. It’s also great that it is nonprofit and runs completely on donations. It’s amazing that something like this has had the power to grow in so little time and that it’s available for all to use. This is a great start to “normalizing” the Internet again and maybe in the future there will be some copy cats that will keep trying to bring privacy back into our technology.

  13. Privacy is supposed to be a basic human right, but in today’s day and age, it does not seem that way. It is almost like that privacy today just does not exist in general. In your own house you might think you have your privacy, and you do from the public, but your phones and other devices in your house are always listening. One example I think we can all relate to is if you look something up online that you might be interested in buying, when you go on social media or other apps on your phone, the product you looked up is now coming up as an ad on your social media or other apps. It is weird to see that sometimes because why does Instagram know that I just looked up a product online? I understand that this is just a marketing technique, but it sometimes becomes uncomfortable. I am sure other can relate to this example too, you might be with friends and you are talking about a product you’re interested in buying, and you have NOT looked it up on the internet yet, but when you go on social media, this product will show up as an ad. It is like your phone is listening to you and heard you and your friends talk about this product, and it is uncomfortable to think your phone is always listening, even when you are not using it. Other than just them examples I spoke about, 20-30 years ago you could not simply google someone’s name and find out just about everything about them. Whether you are famous or not, your information is online, and people can find it. If you google someone’s name, you can find where they live, their criminal record, their social media, and see many pictures of them. That can be uncomfortable because this information should not be so easily accessible. There is no privacy for anyone anymore because of the internet, and it is like we have to fight for our privacy. The only place you can feel like you have your privacy is in your own home, but even there your phone and other devices are always listening, and invading your privacy.

  14. Privacy is meant to be a fundamental human right, but it does not seem that way in today’s day and age. It is almost as if today’s privacy actually does not exist in general.As a culture that relies so heavily on technology and social media, there is actually very little privacy. As much as a person tries to safeguard the data they placed on the internet, it does not remain private for the most part. Technology has made so many advances in society possible, but it has also begun to pose a significant threat to our privacy and security in recent years. There has been evidence that many social media accounts such as Tik Tok and Facebook have been using their users’ personal information. In today’s society it is especially important to be precautious of what information you are providing out into the internet, because you do not know where this information will end up. I think it would be a good idea to educate people, especially the youth the dangers of providing too much personal information online.

  15. The service that Signal offers is quite unique. The CEO Marlinspike, has created a messaging forum with complete privacy which does not collect any user metadata besides the date of account creation and the email used to activate it. This total shield of privacy was very enticing to its creator, Marlinspike who spent his youth entranced in anarchist culture, and developed an anti-government mindset which he aimed to put to good use. The development of this messaging platform allows for anyone to contact someone without their conversations being logged or monitored. Used by adulterous spouses, drug dealers, protestors, or journalists, it also has the power to host far more dangerous dialogues. With protection from surveillance, even with court requested subpoenas which can only collect Signal’s email addresses and date of activation, criminals, hate groups, and terrorists are safe to use Signal’s services. This begs the question how far should privacy protection laws reach, whether they should be enacted, and where the laws of morality become relevant.
    Piracy is treated as a basic human right until one entertains the thought of the misadventures that go on behind closed doors and the evil that should be reprimanded. The government cites these reasons as claims to breach citizen’s privacy. The idea of anarchism that Marlinspike has built his platform on, vouches for the separation of government from the people and their basic rights. Here lies the dichotomy of allowing people their basic rights and allowing a breach in those rights to protect them.

  16. In today’s day and age no one truly has full privacy. Unless, you are completely disconnected from the outside world without any sort of technology you may be safe, but even then it might be questionable. There are cameras everywhere and someone always watching you, whether you know it or not. I think one of the main issues with privacy comes from our phones. Many apps can track your data, photos, emails, and pictures. When you look something up on the internet, it almost always shows up on your social media feed after you have looked at it. I have also had times where I have talked to friends and family about a certain topic and then later that day and ad for what I was talking about shows up. When you really think about it, is it quite scary and makes many people question everything. Like someone said previously, there is a documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma that describes how social media works. It goes further into explaining how everything we say and do on our phones affects our daily lives. I recommend everyone to watch it to become further educated on this topic so we can think of more ways to protect our privacy.

  17. The right to privacy is partially protected by the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. However nowadays everyone’s personal data has become less and less private. Signal was founded to help keep consumers data private and out of the hands of anyone who should not have access to it. Signal uses end to end encryption in order to keep the data private. Unlike most services that attempt to provide this Signal does not charge users for its services but instead runs on donations. Signal does not collect any data from users and when subpoenaed it was only able to produce the account creation date and the last time that account used signal. As a person who tries to keep as much of their data private from the internet, I wish I had heard of it sooner and have already downloaded the app to my phone
    However, while Signal does its best to keep people’s data private other companies are going in the opposite direction. PlayStation recently updated the way its party chat system operates. In addition to a more difficult UI the users have been complaining about since its release, PlayStation now allows users to record each other. This was done in order to make streamers’ jobs easier, but now allows private conversations to be recorded and uploaded anywhere. These conversations can also be sent to Sony or reported to Sony which users are not happy about. PlayStation should take this criticism and look at the praise that apps like Signal are receiving and reconsider its recent changes.

    • Hi Jason, I enjoyed reading your post. I think that you hit the nail right on the head. Personal data is becoming less and less private and platforms like Signal are doing something groundbreaking (though it’s rather sad that protecting our data seems like a revolutionary idea!) and giving us our privacy back.

  18. I selected this article because I felt it was closely related to my research paper topic which is related to data privacy, and I was not disappointed. Before reading this article, I had no idea what Signal was. I am familiar with Discord and some other messaging platforms and had some idea of which were the most “secure”, but now I have a completely different understanding of the meaning of that word. Signal was created by Moxie Marlinspike and is a completely encrypted end to end messaging service. At one point in the article the author mentions that Signal once received a subpoena as part of a federal grand-jury investigation. “A similar request to Google or Facebook likely would have yielded subscriber records with information such as names, credit-card numbers, I.P. addresses, and activity logs” (NAME). However, the only information that the messaging platform was able to provide was the date of account creation and last sign in. When you think about the contrast between these tech giants like Google and Facebook, it’s alarming how much of our information they can give out if asked. Signal represents personal privacy at its best. Although some would argue that this privacy poses a risk. Criminal activity can take place on the platform without a trace and many feel that this outweighs the benefits of the privacy Signal provides.

    Marlinspike, however does not agree. While he does not comment directly on the use of the platform for criminal activity, he says that some things (like same sex marriage and marijuana) need to be challenged for years before the needed progress can occur. Another argument to Signal’s side is that the United States Senate and several foreign governments use Signal as a means of communication. This demonstrates their complete trust in Signal’s privacy settings.

    After reading the article I think I may become a Signal convert. Not because I have anything to hide but because I strongly feel that our personal information should be protected, and that the government often falls short in creating laws that create this protection. While I certainly don’t condone the use of platforms like Signal for criminal activity, I think that the benefit of giving people control over their own data is essential and with the larges messaging platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) failing to do so, it’s great to see that there are companies out there who do.

  19. Life is very digital. People are living and working through home. Social media are used as campaigns for political views. In class we discuss digital hygiene. People are informed about personal hygiene which is to keep clean on your physical self. But with digital hygiene it is to cleanse yourself with all the digital use being used in your daily life. But the question is how do you digitally hygiene when you can’t clear things from your social media. Everything you do on social media is stored somewhere and tracked for safety reasons and lawful reasons. For example social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Those social media take your information even if you have a private message with somebody they stored somewhere and they have records of your conversation. However when looking at WhatsApp and other messenger applications they do not have access to your metadata. When agreeing to these companies terms of service you agreed to having your private conversations be stored and tracked. But when agreeing to the terms of service with WhatsApp and other messengers you don’t agree to releasing your private information. So what gives other companies the right to look at your information and sometimes maybe even use it against you for legal reasons where they can be charged on their company and just leave all the blame on you since you are the person using their account.

  20. People of all ages use computers and the web in their daily lives whether it is for school, work, shopping, or interacting with others. The web and online services have made our lives extremely easier because of the amount of information there is to offer. There is an answer to almost every question and problem online. It just continues to develop more and more each year. It is crazy how fast the web has grown in such a short amount of time. However, there is one main downside to online services: privacy. Companies like Google and Facebook are notorious for using the information we search for and the websites we browse to collect data on us. It happens to everyone where we are searching for one thing and later we go on Facebook or Google and see an add for the product we were searching for. These companies have faced lots o backlash over the years for the data they collect on us. We recently had a discussion abut this topic in my business ethics class. It was all about surveillance capitalism and how they companies collect so much data on us that the algorithms know us better than we know ourselves. It was not too long ago where Google was caught having hidden microphones installed in their home security systems which were not needed at all. These microphones were used to listen in on people to collect data on our habits, interests, likes and dislikes. Privacy is a big thing now a days and there has to be a line drawn for these major tech companies not to cross. It is bad enough that they use our search history to show us what we want to see. These companies probably have enough data on us to never have to collect a bit ever again. It is crazy that they are even allowed to do all this. Something needs to get done, whether it is a policy or restriction to limit the power these companies have. By letting them collect all this data, we are giving them all the power in the world to do whatever they want with it. If nothing is done it will only get worse in the near future.

  21. Many technological agencies and companies have started to work on end-to-end encrypted communication, since privacy has started to be more difficult as the digital companies and state agencies have started to create tools that finds anything on your messages, and they can see whatever you are sending to the other person. Encryption has started to be one of the next technological pattern, since most of the companies have created new features that will ensure their privacy. The first type of encryption that has been in discussion about six years ago, and it has been creating big money movements by investors. Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, which has been growing really fast, have ensured privacy on transactions, so governments cannot find who has made the payment, or why this payment has been made. Furthermore, companies have been developing more features that are characterized by encryption. Telegram is a communication app that ensures people’s privacy while they are talking, or while they are sending something, but some regulations have made it less efficient during the past years, since they are forced to give some date when investigations are conducted. However, this company has influenced many communication companies such as Whatsapp, which has been purchased by Zuckerberg. The Facebook creator has inserted in Facebook and Whatsapp a feature that gives the users the power to encrypt their communication. Encryption has been a tool of self-defense over new tools that empower agencies to see whatever they want. However, I am diffident about how encryption is working at its hundred percent capabilities, since governments and tech companies would have the power anyway to find whatever they want about us. Encryption would be another tool that those companies would use on their favor as they have done with the social media on the past years. They would find a way to get more data on us, and they would sell data more expensive than ever, since it can be used for many scopes. Encryption would be another technological pattern that would lead new investors to get richer, but it will not guarantee our privacy against companies and state agencies.

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