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Why do we even use the internet anymore?


As a reserved and private person I never felt the need to share every detail of my life with daily social media posts, photos and shares so I always felt like I had kept my privacy intact while using the internet.
Throughout the years I've felt a change and especially in the last few years, it has become noticeably more difficult to keep my personal info and data to myself. That's why I've recently embarked on a journey of tech and data "cleansing." Might be a bit of a dramatic word to use, but I think it applies.

We've become so trapped in a system of data collection, tracking and monitoring. Seems like every website visit these days starts with an annoying pop-up basically telling the visitor "Hey, just FYI, we're collecting data from you so we can make more money."
To be honest, I wish the message was that direct and clear.
Even if you are aware of the bad practices at play, and want to opt-out of cookies, tracking and so on, most sites don't make it easy to do that! We get separate permissions for dozens, sometimes hundreds of different cookies, trackers and "legitimate interests." Confusing interfaces which give no real indication of ON/OFF or YES/NO. It's confusing by design, to keep funnelling in more data from users.

I noticed myself getting tired of these pop-ups, annoyed by all the tracking and of course the curated content and targeted advertisements.

Believe it or not, there are some who defend data collection because "it shows me what I want," and "it recommends stuff I'm interested in."
Personally, I find them exhausting... Every time I have a quick thought or am curious about something and want to look it up, I'm instantly reluctant to do so, because I know that if I look something up online, this information will be used to try and sell something to me at some point.
I've even had to tell people and partners to not look up certain videos when logged in on my accounts or devices, just so I wouldn't get recommendations for crap I'm not interested in.

There are many bigger problems with this, not just it being annoying, but this is just a short thought piece, if there's any interest, I might write up a more detailed and "proper" post around the dangers and problems of data collection and tracking.

The question I've been asking myself lately is: How has this become normal?

Why are most humans so ignorant and simply sit by while this constant funnelling of personal data is happening?

Why do we blindly trust faceless corporations with our personal info? Even with proof of their misdeeds and awful practices...

Well, until recently, I was ignorant of it as well... Why?
Was it the convenience of the services?
Was I so completely tricked into believing that all this tracking and collecting is somehow going to improve our lives and benefit us?

There's probably no single evil mastermind behind all this. The internet was basically the wild west for a while, no one could have predicted that some day we would be where we are now. The implementation and development of new technologies, new methods of data collection, algorithms and recommendation systems, has taken YEARS and it has all happened so gradually that most people don't realize anything has really changed.

Another issue is that we're talking about data here. Lines of text, numbers and symbols in code, all of which is working behind the scenes of what the usual end user sees. It's so easy to gather data about us, because it's basically invisible unless you know where to look (if you even have access to your own data.)

This is more of a thought/discussion post, so I won't go into that much more detail. There are so many issues with what is considered "normal" on the internet these days, I feel like the best I can do is give a couple examples, but most importantly, I wish to encourage people to take back control. Be more aware and be more private. Instead of thinking "I have nothing to hide," think: "I have nothing to share."

Going back to my personal goals, I am excited to use the internet for it's original purpose again. I'm going to use it as a tool. A tool to work with others, a tool to improve myself as a person and a tool to make the world a better place. That's what everyone should do I think. Psychological tricks, sneaky design and recommendation algorithms have turned many into mindless zombies just scrolling to the next post for a small dopamine hit.

STOP!

Whenever you boot up your PC and log on, think to yourself: "What am I going to use the internet for? What will I accomplish today?"

Use the internet like it was intended to be used, as a tool for betterment of humanity.

Sure the tech companies and data collection agencies are using it as a tool, but only as a tool to use us. Use us to make more money. Use us to make political moves. Use us and turn us against ourselves.

Often while thinking about all this, I feel hopeless. Even as I'm writing this, I struggle with finishing, because how do you finish this? Where do we go from here? How do we change the world for the better, when the world doesn't even care?

I'd love to hear what others think of this. The writing and thought process in this post might be all over the place, but I'm still learning and practising writing. Hoping I got at least some of my point across!

I find this and other similar topics very fascinating and would love to write more about this and I'll try to bring more facts and sources next time.

Let me know what you think!
Do you care what happens to your data?
How do you use the internet? Or do you let the internet use you?

Thanks for reading!

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Alien Insight
Alien Insight

Looking at information from multiple perspectives gives one the opportunity to learn and understand.


Journal of Thoughts
Journal of Thoughts

Reflection, contemplation and some speculation.

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