Independence Day in the U.S. is a time when many Americans pause to reflect on their freedoms. While the long holiday weekend is often a time of travel, picnics, and fireworks, it’s also an excellent opportunity to remember that our rights have come at great cost and sacrifice. The right to privacy is certainly one of our freedoms.
In long periods of relative stability, it’s easy to take certain rights for granted. But it’s up to us to periodically take stock of the times and ask ourselves how we can remain optimistically vigilant about our shared values. This includes asking yourself what privacy means to you. It also includes understanding the changing nature of technology as it relates to our privacy and security.
In the spirit of preserving our freedoms and living our values, here are some new resources you can use to fuel your thoughts and conversations about privacy. (Including conversations you might want to begin with your kids.)
See What You’re Sharing
One of the greatest challenges to managing our privacy is poor visibility into what we’re actually sharing through our web browser, mobile devices, and apps. If we can’t see what we’re sharing, it’s difficult to exercise our right to protect our personal information.
A recent piece by Tim Herrera for the New York Times’ Smarter Living newsletter took a look at all of the various ways we unintentionally share information about ourselves online. In addition to providing greater transparency, Herrera also provides direct links to preferences you can manage to limit or revise your information. This includes managing Facebook preferences, Amazon ad information, and browser extensions for increasing your privacy. There are many helpful links to peruse and share in Herrera’s article, and it is well worth your time.
Listen to the Experts
Finding time in a hectic schedule to tune up your privacy awareness can be a challenge, which is why podcasts are a superb way to do a little multitasking during your next commute or treadmill session.
Below are a few worthy of your attention:
1. Note to Self: WNYC Studios presents “Note to Self” with host Manoush Zomorodi. Billed as “your weekly reminder to question everything,” the show frequently covers privacy and technology issues. Two recent episodes “of note” include “We’ve Gained So Much With the iPhone. What Have We Lost?” and “We See Ourselves in Black Mirror.”
2. IRL Podcast: A somewhat newer addition to the playlist is the IRL (“In Real Life”) Podcast by Mozilla, developers of the popular Firefox browser. Emphasizing a perspective on how online life is real life, “[h]ost Veronica Belmont explores this disconnect with stories from the wilds of the Web – and gets to the bottom of online issues that affect us all.” The first episode includes a discussion of the World Privacy Forum’s “Top 10 Opt Outs.”
3. Too Embarrassed to Ask: While this podcast by Kara Swisher of Recode and Lauren Goode of The Verge isn’t limited to privacy and security issues, it does provide smart coverage of vital questions. This April they looked at the questions “What did Congress just do to my privacy?” and “How do I protect my privacy online?”
Privacy Thrives in Discussion
If you value your privacy and want to help create a future where the right to privacy is protected for all, check out some (or all!) of these resources. Start discussions locally with your friends, family, and community leaders. Take time to connect and work together on these important issues.