How is Privacy hurting you?
Data about you is linked through your mobile number, device address and/or your email address are collected by online companies from various sources in the name of bank loans, mobile wallets, credit cards, college application, dating, marriage, job opportunities, comments on social media, comment on news media, online searches and clicks, and many more…
With so much data available about you─ your online behavior is now accurately predictable, more than you could predict yourself. That means your privacy is not merely compromised but now it will be used against you by online companies at the cost of your privacy through targeted advertising and selling data about you.
Online surveillance and machine learning targeted toward your online activities and behaviors are examples of intelligence collected on you, It is being sold on a daily basis to the highest bidder. This is beginning to interfere with your personal and professional life.
The Internet is not free. Online service providers made billions of dollars at the cost of your privacy through targeted advertising and selling your data.
As an example, when we go to open a bank account, we are required to provide certain information required for banking. From time to time, the bank can contact us to tell more about its services that are suitable for us. There is no privacy issue here. So far, so good. Now imagine, this bank takes your personal preferences and financial information and decides to monetize it. To take the analogy further, say the bank decides to sell information of all of its clients to all home developers and landlords in your vicinity. These businesses are looking for people with purchasing power, affordability, savings, gross income, religions, race, ethnicity, caste, education, etc. Imagine the power these businesses are given with the insider information on their residents. What would they do with it? Very simply, they will price their houses not just based on market conditions but based on this insider information creating competitive advantage leaving you vulnerable with rising housing costs and rents.
This ‘increased’ price charged by few will now become the ‘market’ price. This market price (Adam Smith’s “Natural Price”) was set NOT by the demand and supply but rather by gaining insight into the demand destroying the “perfect competition”.
Further, your personal data with this company is not a onetime sale item, it is a virtual item that can be traded in numerous times. They can now sell this information to anyone who is looking to sell something to you creating unlevelled market conditions hurting consumers. This is one of the fundamental reasons for skyrocketing, unexplained inflation across the board. The more they know about you, the more they can sell, the more they can sell, the more money they can make. When making money is the motivation, history remains the witness of how far one can go.
Is privacy a constitutional right?
Asking for privacy or personal space because of your personal preference and due to cultural sentiments is not a crime nor does it imply you are ‘up to something’ and have something to hide. Privacy is at the core of creation, even animal prefers privacy.
Freedom of Speech and Privacy are fundamental rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), by the European Convention on Human Rights and other international conventions and in many nations ‘constitutions.
The principle underlying the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution is protection against invasions of the sanctities of a man’s home and privacies of life. This is a recognition of the significance of man’s spiritual nature, his feelings, and his intellect.
The Supreme Court of India has ruled that there is a fundamental right to privacy under the Indian constitution, establishing that “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty”. The Right to Privacy as an absolute right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.