Do the Big Tech Firms Respect Data Privacy?
Most of you are more than familiar with the recent House Judiciary Committee hearings on Antitrust Law. Key big tech CEOs Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Tim Cook (Apple), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), and Sundar Pichai (Google) are under intense scrutiny for potential data privacy violations and unlawful business practices. While this dog and pony show was fraught with legal jargon and opinionated assumptions, it did shed a great deal of light on the power these titans of industry hold over American citizens and businesses. Many of the questions that were raised, political opinions aside, were supported by factual evidence and eyewitness statements. Questions that left viewers to ponder the extent to which these companies have control over our sensitive personal data online.
If you tuned in for the live hearing, you might very well have heard the opening statements from the general counsel and witnesses. At the onset of the hearing, a litany of concerns is expressed. Among those concerns was the abuse of personal data. On that front, Representative David Cicilline of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust had this to say:
“Each platform is a bottleneck for a key channel of distribution. Whether they control access to information to a marketplace, these platforms have the incentive and ability to exploit this power. They can charge exorbitant fees, impose impressive contracts, and extract valuable data from the people and businesses that rely on them. Several of those firms also harvest and abuse people’s data to sell ads from everything to new books and dangerous so-called miracle cures.”
Data Privacy Concerns
Regardless of whether or not organizations like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google take part in these unsound, immoral internet practices, the simple fact that they can do so is eye-opening and cause for concern. In an ever-evolving digital age such as ours, data privacy and general privacy online is becoming more critical than ever. Unfortunately, privacy laws nation-wide are not enough to protect those of us that are unfamiliar with our nation’s enhanced digital landscape.
That’s why we established Presence – an all-in-one solution and that acts as your eyes and ears online to adequately protect you from criminals, and data hoarders that would otherwise treat your personal information like a blank check. Our goal is to provide you with inexpensive tools and the valuable, costless resources necessary to secure a private online experience. The Presence team and advisors believe that data privacy is a fundamental human right. When organizations like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have the power to use this data to terrible effect, we each must take precautionary measures to fight for this right! Here are a few things you can do to protect your private information from large data hoarding companies.
- Limit the use of personally identifiable information to fill out online forms or engage with website content. Many large companies treat visitors and users as a commodity, selling and trading your data as if you were a product.
- You can use the Presence application to filter out sites that sell your information.
- Set time aside to audit your digital footprint actively. Check social accounts, posts, and sites that engage in commercial activity for any unnecessary personal information that may put you in harm’s way online.
- Remove that information immediately.
- Presence can actively track and consolidate your entire digital footprint. The tool then provides you with best practices and recommendations on how to manage your data across the internet.
- When possible, use browsers that do not store or collect data like Duck-Duck Go.
- Presence continually provides you with recommendations on the best tools available on the market that put privacy first.
Hungry for more? Check out these ten tips for privacy protection online, compiled by industry experts and data privacy aficionados. While you’re at it, take a look at some of the things Presence can do for you from a security and privacy standpoint. With proper information and tools, we can all stand up to big tech companies and drive the movement for enhanced privacy online.
Join the movement #privacyfirst