The advent of the internet has led to a lot of significant changes in our lifestyles. Starting from our personal networks to shopping everything has been digitized, so a simple tap on a phone screen can do wonders in today’s era. The level of connectivity has increased to such a large extent that people are unable to survive without their gadgets. Not being connected simply translates to missing out on the innumerable opportunities that can arise. As a society that has traditionally given high value to socializing and networking, Indians are exploiting the fruits of the digital era to the maximum.
However the internet does bring with it certain complications which are yet to be understood by the greater public. The level of content monitoring in India, as of now is very low as the system has just been put in place and miles behind passing acts like the SOPA in the USA. There have been many instances wherein employees and students have been punished for posting negative comments about their organization on Facebook. This has not deterred people from posting personal information which need not be publicized. Blame it on the excitement of receiving good news or the nonchalant attitude of Indian netizens but the issue remains that people are not concerned regarding the permanence of their digitized data.
Some may argue that they aren’t ashamed of anything posted online and thus not worried about any repercussions, the fact remains that the information is available on the web. It might just fall into the wrong hands at any point of time and the consequences would be disastrous. Marketers are using the online medium to reach more customers nowadays. Platforms like Google and Facebook help advertisers reach specific segments of customers based on all the available information that people voluntarily upload. Google actually customizes advertisements based on keywords in a user’s email! The Will Smith starrer “Enemy of the State” comes to mind where a governmental agency spies on its citizens, Google however is not the government and that isn’t comforting to know!
These views might seem overtly cynical or paranoid but the point I’m trying to drive home is that, when it comes to online information sharing people have to learn to be more responsible. Thanks to our smart phones loaded with applications our movements, choice of restaurants, entertainment avenues etc can all be tracked on a hourly basis. Our world is quickly morphing with the digital space and self-censorship seems to be the only way to preserve the sanctity of privacy.