Surveillance technology is rapidly evolving. Privacy and anonymity are fast becoming a luxury. Only those that understand the concerns and are tech savvy can stay one step ahead of the curve and remain under the radar.
In today’s world, nearly everything you do is recorded. Your phone and the many apps within it keep a track on where you are, what apps you use most, who you interact with, the things you enjoy doing, what products you purchase, where you work, how much you earn, who you are married to, what you look up on the internet when no one is around, and much more. Being anonymous is difficult. We willfully give away all our personal information on various social media networks.
In countries like China and parts of Europe, facial recognition systems are in nearly all public spaces in metro’s and it is interlinked with a social credit system. Big brother is always watching your every move. China isn’t alone either since a growing number of countries are starting to adopt such systems. While the pretense is that it prevents crime, the data can be used by those that control it in hundreds of devious ways that the gullible public are happily oblivious to. Many experts tend to agree that such widespread recognition systems can be dangerous. Once people give up their biometrics, they are always and irreversible identifiable.
Not many people are concerned about the state or other entities surveilling them. If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide is the argument most of these people subscribe to. However, it’s not only just about not doing wrong. We must understand that the ones in power can very well misuse such systems as they have already done, even in the US.
The fact that we live in such an electronically connected world is undisputable. Even online casinos ask for your personal information for security and regulatory purposes, it’s part of their KYC process. Yet anonymity is still a sought-after feature by many. But, if you’re the kind of person who prefers to stick to their guns, one way to avoid divulging such sensitive data is by registering with an anonymous casino. Yes, they actually exist.
There is Value in Anonymity
There are many good reasons for people wanting to stay anonymous, particularly online. Wanting to stay anonymous certainly does not entail that you wish to do something illegal. Sometimes, we just want some private space. Being anonymous gives us the freedom to explore new things and express ourselves without fear of being criticized.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania released a study in 2013 that included in-depth interviews with dozens of internet users across four continents. For example, one of the persons interviewed built an anonymous online forum for English learners to practice their abilities. They were able to better handle various aspects of their lives because of their anonymity. One participant stated that he frequented online forums to assist individuals with technical issues, but that the internet’s detached character allowed him to avoid unwelcome obligations. Furthermore, in an environment like the internet, anonymity might assist protect personal safety.
However, while most internet users would desire to stay anonymous, most don’t believe it is totally achievable, according to 2013 Pew Research Center research. According to the report, 59 percent of internet users in the United States feel it is hard to entirely conceal one’s identity online.
While some people take simple actions to protect their anonymity, such as erasing their browsing history, many users who claim to cherish anonymity aren’t actually doing so.
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Communication earlier this year looked at the “privacy paradox,” or the concept that, while individuals value privacy, they don’t really walk the walk, in everyday life.
What About Going Off the Grid?
We’re so dependent on technologies and our smartphones that simply refusing to use a smartphone as an adult is considered extreme by most people. Deleting your Facebook or Instagram profile might help relieve your compulsive need to keep checking in, but it won’t make you anonymous again.
Being completely anonymous on the web is almost virtually impossible today. With a single data point about you, a tech savvy peeping tom can, with some commitment, uncover the rest about you as well. We’re living in an era of surveillance, in which it’s easy to dig up information like bank records, medical records, online history, or call history if you’re a potential suspect in a probe. In the age of cyber security breaches and digital businesses that keep your banking details and residential addresses on file, this points to a wider, more severe privacy risk.
Anonymity is Not Always a Good Thing Either
Anonymity has a bad side as well. In a Carnegie Mellon survey, 53% of those studied acknowledged to malevolent actions such as hacking or abusing other internet users, as well as engaging in what can be categorized as socially unacceptable activities like browsing sites depicting violence or pornography, or illegally downloading data.
While most individuals prefer to keep sensitive information like bank accounts and medical data private, there are many who are willing to sacrifice complete anonymity for the sake of a the good of the society.