How Did the Pandemic Influence Our Digital Privacy?

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made a significant impact on the way most of us work and spend our free time. It suddenly brought a heap of problems that pushed other issues all the way to the back.

During the pandemic, we faced a tremendous challenge. Is it appropriate to sacrifice your privacy for physical security? Supporters of contact-tracing apps labeled them as a must to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, privacy advocates wanted some more answers, especially after 40% of contact-tracing apps had severe security issues. How will the accumulated data be used? And, more importantly, and the world survives this nightmare, what will happen to the gathered volumes of users’ information?

Digital Privacy: not a priority anymore?

Everyone remembers Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing before Congress due to rising concerns about digital privacy. Namely, during the presidential campaign in 2016, Facebook sold private user data to Trump’s campaign leaders without anyone knowing. Zuckerberg had to pay over $5 billion for privacy violations, but most Americans still felt like they had no control over their own data.

Multiple laws were proposed, some states even implemented their Privacy Acts, and big-tech companies had to adapt to the new situation. Most companies added more privacy data options that allow users to prevent websites from collecting their personal data. Just as things started going in the right direction, the pandemic hit, most political establishments faced an unprecedented problem on a massive scale. With everyone scared for their health and well-being, the issue of digital privacy might have moved as a secondary issue.

The digital world is growing faster than ever before

The pandemic brought a lot of changes to the way we live. Everyone took the situation seriously and did what they can to help stop the spreading of the virus. Restaurants switched only to home deliveries, public transportation became a risk, and most businesses allowed their employees to work from home.

As most people went into lockdown, the internet became their only window into the world. Sure, most of us were online already, but the pandemic has drastically increased the number of daily users and the amount of time they spend online. Zoom, Skype, and other video call apps boomed as companies moved employee interaction online.

While many netizens knew that companies gather their personal data, the tracking might have accelerated during the pandemic. With people spending more time online, they generate more data.

What will the future bring?

While new digital privacy regulations are promising, compliance is something that netizens will have to wait for quite some time. For the most part, people are in charge of their own privacy. Do you read privacy policies and terms of use documents? If these seem tedious tasks, you might not be aware of the tracking or data misuse you agree to. Do you share every detail about your life on social media? Also, are your social media accounts private or public? These questions are great brain teasers that might encourage you to tweak your account settings. Furthermore, minimizing the data available to you is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of doxing or phishing.

Thus, you need to hold your ground and take control of your privacy and security. A VPN for privacy is one of the solutions, giving you the power to fight back. For instance, your ISP might also be continuously accumulating data about your browsing behavior. Cut the cord by encrypting all your web traffic. It will ensure that your ISP (and other third-party entities) won’t have the privilege of keeping tabs on you online.

Thus, let’s be hopeful that in 2021, we will combat the greatest threats to our digital privacy and security. Make such protection your new year’s resolutions. Therefore, try to be more aware and inquisitive about the digital services you use and the websites you visit.

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