Your Right to Digital Privacy and How to Protect It

Hey, we’re glad you’re with us!

 

We are Clario. We believe in everyone's right to online privacy, security, and identity and we do our best to help you stay protected.

 

We hope this article makes your digital world at least a little simpler, safer, and more accessible. Let's go together!

 

What is privacy? We all instinctively enjoy it when we shut the door to our room or draw the curtains. We zip up our backpacks, shred important documents, and wrap up phone conversations when curious relatives come by. We cover our bodies, hide our delicate feelings, and, from time to time, require total solitude. And it’s okay. But it wasn’t always like this.

The evolution of privacy

It feels odd to think that privacy wasn’t really accepted throughout most of human history. Early tribe members lived in close proximity. This way, it was easier to keep the community protected. Those who wanted solitude would be frowned upon.

 

Ancient baths and restrooms were common open spaces. Seemingly, people were comfortable with their bodies. Up until about the 16th century, homes had only one room for all the family to live in. The benefit was simple - it’s cheaper to heat a single-room dwelling. Even more, before the 18th century, there used to be only one bed in many households due to the expense.

 

However, society developed and the value of privacy increased, at least in the Western world. In 1890, two US attorneys, Samuel D. Warren and Louis Brandeis, published an article entitled “The Right to Privacy” which became the first declaration of this concept. Little by little, the right to privacy made its way to international treaties and over 150 national constitutions.  

 

Still, even in the 20th century, people used to send postcards without envelopes and share phone lines that could be eavesdropped on. The reason was, of course, economical. These non-confidential services were affordable while secrecy was costly.

 

For a short time in the second half of the 20th century, privacy entered its golden age. Society was finally concerned with confidentiality and people could afford the privacy of separate rooms and beds, direct letters and phone calls. Computers and the internet were yet to be in place and no one carried a 24/7 location tracker in their pocket.

 

And then something changed.  

The privacy tradeoff and the power of choice

As we can see from history, people were ready to swap their privacy for convenience and money throughout time. Solitude and secrecy were expensive and, at the end of the day, not that valuable. What's remarkable is that everyone was aware of the situations when they weren't private. There were no technical ways for silent surveillance.

 

Then, at the end of the 20th century, our new shiny toys arrived - computers, smartphones, and other devices. The internet connected them and we suddenly discovered digital stuff we didn’t know we needed. Email, social networks, instant news, driving navigation, cat videos, and more.

 

From the beginning, it all came for free and we never wondered why. Come to think of it, these are useful services. They are created by people who probably get paid for their work. So where does the money come from?

 

Here’s a quote to answer this question: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” Originally published on a forum in 2010, it was repeated in every way throughout the decade.

 

This notion summarizes the prevailing business model of digital business. A company provides a certain service for free to attract users. When it has the users’ attention, the company sells access to it to an advertiser. The deal becomes even better when the business can gather and sell the users’ private data so that advertisers can target ads according to individual needs and tastes. This business model is used, particularly, by Google and Facebook.

 

That’s how our private information became a bargain item. It may even seem logical and vaguely fair. But there’s one big question:

 

Did anyone let us know we exchange our privacy for all these free services?

 

No, at least not so explicitly or from the very beginning. These days, more and more legislation appears to alter the situation. Under these laws, businesses have to notify users about the processing of their personal data, obtain users’ consent, and let users “leave the game”. Namely, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) represent big steps in this direction.

 

However, the required communication between the company and the user often stays buried in lengthy privacy policies and unread emails. Most businesses are not really interested in educating customers about their rights. But we do have a legal basis and technical means to protect our online privacy. So let’s do it!

Ways to protect your digital privacy

It may seem that email services, chat messengers, and social media platforms are inescapable, and we can’t stop companies from tracking us. But at Clario we believe we shouldn’t accept the misuse of our personal data. We are creating a digital privacy and security solution to help you secure all areas of your digital life. With a little dedication alongside 24/7 support from our expert team, you’ll be able to regain your privacy and peace of mind.

 

Check out the below advice on how to be more confidential online.

 

1. Think before you share. Everything you share online goes beyond your control - whether it’s a password, kid’s photo, or a late-night philosophical thought. Take a moment to consider the risks.

 

2. Lock your devices and cover your cameras. Don’t underestimate simple solutions when it comes to your privacy.

 

3. Use a VPN and security software. Clario is soon to make it super-easy for you!

 

4. Block online trackers with a browser extension. Also available in an upcoming Clario product.

 

5. Use unique strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication, where possible. The extra effort is justified when you want to protect your accounts from hackers or thieves.

 

6. Review privacy policies and app permissions. Check out principal information about the way your personal data is collected and used. On your phone and tablet, review the apps’ access permissions and turn off anything you deem excessive.

 

7. Secure your smart devices. Make sure your home network and gadgets are protected by unique strong passwords.

 

8. Check your data breach status regularly - Clario will soon automate it for you. In case of identity theft, act as soon as possible.

 

We’ve also prepared an even more detailed guide on privacy and self-protection. May all your confidential information stay for your eyes only!

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