Don't Watch Man!

Things to be considered when giving up one's privacy with using messaging platforms such as Whatsapp (or any other service for that matter).

There are a certain group of people that don't think it's a big deal with the changes that were being proposed with Whatsapp. The owner, Mark Zuckerberg, the original creator/owner of Facebook, a billion pound company, bought Instagram in 2012 for 760 million pounds and Whatsapp in 2014 for almost 14 billion pounds. His intent was to monopolise the data produced on these platforms. Some argue that he's entitled to it i.e. that's what we sign away when we decide to use these platforms to converse with family, friends and strangers but the question of ethics come into play. The owner of Facebook was sued in 2020 under the FTC to prevent an unbreachable monopoly which denies consumers the benefits of competition. Without getting too political or going too much into capitalism, socialism and communism, from a business standpoint, some may argue that disintegrating such monopolies plays a catch 22 against capitalism which allows free trade amongst businesses and allows one to maximise from their profits.

Articles and books have been written on such concerns and considerations for more than a decade back. I remember mentioning this progressive cyber invasiveness to someone a few years ago and the response was:
"I don't mind, I've got nothing to hide."


The problem isn't with the 'nothing to hide though'. The issue is, once a person has enough data on you, it's child play for them to know which buttons to push to manipulate into taking actions that they want. They can tell when you're ovulating which usually happens a few days before the painters visit (youse who get the monthly visits from Aunty Flow know what I'm talking about). For the right price, a company can buy those exact dates. A guy looking to improve his success rate, can get/purchase these ovulation cycle dates for a particular postcode with some prospective and promising gyal and just push for the link during those peak times. I know what I'm saying sounds like a madness but there are companies out there that are just crunching numbers and churning out algorithims. There is no face that they place to the data, they just have formulas.


For example: 23, single, black, female, 5'8, uni graduate, 2.1, sociology, etc 

                        21, roasting (lol) mixed race, male, 6'1, second year of uni, etc.

With such information, companies are just mixing and matching, creating formulas and churning data to build patterns.

Years ago, I remember reading a book on marketing and how supermarkets can use such data to design what kind of campaigns they generate for their customers. For instance, those who have those cards that offer discounts, like those Tesco cards that one would use every time they shopped in Tesco, every time one makes a purchase, the company knows the time of the purchase, the amount that was purchased and so on. They could correlate time with purchases and come up with an ironclad formula aimed at a particular household. So the instance I remember reading had a teenage girl of around 16 who went into the supermarket to buy some stuff. Nothing bait but a few days later, a magazine was sent to her house with coupons and promotions for expecting mothers. Her dad received the magazine and went spare at the supermarket. He went into the supermarket snorting and raging, asking for the manager, stating that it was insulting, how could they make such a mistake, reah teh teh, that his wife could notbe pregnant. The supermarket apologised. However, a couple of weeks later, the daughter told her dad that she was pregnant. So, the supermarket merely matched her shopping patterns (she had bought vitamins such as folic acid, iron, vitamin D) with the deluge of data they had received on expecting mothers. Now that's just a supermarket and its shopping card. Imagine something like a messaging platform used daily by millions of people all over the globe


Some argue that such companies already have information on us and the little scrabbling about and hiding that we're trying to do doesn't fare much. It's like a purple mole trying to hide in a room with white tiles from a falcon on a perch. What does it matter in deterring someone who alreadyhas multiple lenses lasered in on what we're doing? Well, let me pose this proposal:

If I were to ask you lot these pervasive questions such as:

1) Are you single, taken, or taken but open to a discreet link? 2) What kind of things do you smoke? 3) Do you drink? 4) Do you get lonely 5) How often do you sext (send sexual text messages) your exes? 6) What kind of porn do you watch? 7) Do you have any 'toys'?

Would you answer them or would you tell me to jog on?

Well, when you give upyour data privacy, you are freely answering all these questions and far more. You give the data gatherer enough information to practically pull you by strings like some sort of machiavellian puppeteer. You're probably saying 'Well, I'm answering those questions anyway,' but with the concession of the rights to your data use, one can also use your information (sell it, share it, manipulate you) and you can't say anything because you said 'I've got nothing to hide.'.

 

Despite all of the aforementioned, you may still be good with doing what you're doing. That's fine but being informed is never a bad thing.

Happy Valentine's day all!


MistaH

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