It doesn’t take a tech junkie to know that the government, large corporations, and data mining firms track everything that we, the users, do on the internet. Just google Edward Snowden for example, and read his story. Snowden was a consultant working in infrastructure for the NSA, and copied NSA documents that he believed what in the best interest of the public to see. With the Snowden case began the debate between the balance between national security and internet privacy.
While some insecure internet users may choose to use proxy servers or VPN’s, fancy ways of trying to hide your internet history or data, many choose to simply do nothing. The NSA uses receives information from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. to track what individuals are doing. Online data brokers and even free WiFi sites track individual’s internet history to try to learn more about groups of people.
The biggest question at hand here is should we, as internet consumers, care who sees our internet “data”?
I argue that no, we should not. The NSA may use this data for all types of reasons, but the most important is to uphold national security. If you’re trying to hide from the NSA, you are likely doing something that is either a) illegal or b) it would be in the public’s best interest for the government to monitor you. When a corporation gathers data on you, oftentimes it is in an attempt to modify their site to your perceived behavior. This makes the internet more efficient if the data gathering is correct, as sites can selectively advertise to users that may actually be interested, and can direct you towards products that you will actually buy. What this does is increase the consumers efficiency online.
However, this does call for the individuals to be more cautious and look out for themselves. Corporations are trying to exploit individual’s spending and activity patterns, meaning internet users must look out for themselves and not fall victim to companies that try to take advantage of them. While this may be a big concern for some, on average, corporations and the NSA being able to track individual’s online is advantageous for the user.