As proponents of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, you are likely already well aware that privacy is of fundamental importance to our lives. With the recent introduction of the Assistance and Access Bill in Australia, a law which requires tech companies based in, or operating within, Australia to provide law enforcement and other government agencies access to all encrypted communications upon request.
With these and other changes regularly occurring around the world we thought it would be interesting to dedicate some time to talk about privacy, why it matters to us, and why maybe you should give it a little extra thought in your daily life.
1. Privacy Is Not Just About You
Firstly, one of the easiest things to forget about privacy is that it is not just a blanket statement that relates to what you do or feel. Privacy affects many people in different ways. Not to mention, how you handle your own privacy can also affect others. Those you socialize with, do business with, and in terms of cryptocurrency trading, anyone who you are transacting with can be affected by your own lack of privacy.
By neglecting your privacy, or by being careless, you may inadvertently leak information about other people which can break their trust and cause them just as many problems as a privacy breach could cause you. Respecting your privacy along with the privacy of those around you allows everyone to share the right to privacy, privacy is important. Just as many other social boundaries that we have developed as a species, maintaining a reasonable level of privacy enables us to explore the world in a way where we don't have to worry so much about things that are outside our control.
Privacy is just one of the reasons why many people openly choose to use P2P exchanges in order to trade cryptocurrency. When making trades with others, you can show you have regard for them by respecting their financial confidentiality and using discretion by keeping any private information you gained during your dealings to yourself.
2. It’s a Slippery Slope
Privacy is a limit on control. Control from governments, corporations, and other people. When we don’t take steps to maintain our privacy and ignore legislative or other kinds of threats to reduce our ability to embrace our own privacy, history has shown us that almost inevitably, our rights will be taken away. With that said, it’s important to note that wanting privacy is not anti-government, it’s simply pro-freedom. Freedom of thought. Freedom of speech. Freedom of choice.
Laws help to maintain a decent society but supporting the privacy of yourself and others also helps keep restrictions and laws reasonable. The fact is that you don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to understand that if you sit back each time another more restrictive measure is proposed and keep saying “it’s not that bad, this isn’t a big deal” then more often than not you are normalizing the next attack on privacy that will likely further reduce your ability to maintain reasonable discretion in your life.
What is just an inconvenience today can one day lead to things that affect basic human rights. Pay attention to what is going on around you, to help ensure that your personal and social boundaries are being maintained in a way you are comfortable with not just now but tomorrow.
3. Freedom To Think & Speak
Human beings need some amount of privacy in order to develop a rounded sense of self. There is something absolutely primal about the need for privacy and ethnographers have found that it is a universal cultural attribute.
Not only is it the driving force behind free speech but it also provides boundaries of protection so that we feel free to be ourselves, to explore areas of our mind without fear that we will be judged or attacked. Privacy is a key to freedom of thought, nurturing creativity and self-expression.
Privacy also helps us to form our political beliefs, vote and make decisions that matter to both us and our families whilst not being influenced by others into making decisions based on herd mentality simply because we are too scared to voice our own convictions. Don't let your personal data be used to exclude or potentially damage your ability to thrive now or in the future.
Journalists and activists often need to take particular care when it comes to their privacy - putting their lives on the line to fight corruption and investigate situations that matter and may have a considerable impact on the planet. Let’s face it, an independent press is a pillar of democracy. There are some fantastic projects like TOR that help support activists and journalists to get their information out into the world or communicate with those at risk online with more anonymity, where possible show your support for these projects as one day you may need them as well.
4. Your Reputation Is On The Line
We all have personal interests or quirks that we are keen to keep out of the public eye. Many of us have hobbies or things that we like to do that we find too personal to share with other people. Every single one of us of us, at one time or another, has said or done something that was only suitable to be shared with certain people in our lives, perhaps just a silly conversation with a close friend or something you would only be comfortable sharing with a partner. Now imagine if everything you ever did and said became public knowledge or was exposed to everyone close to you.
Imagine if your boss, your coworkers, your friends, your neighbors knew absolutely EVERY single thing that you said or did with absolutely no context whatsoever. Imagine if you were going through a custody battle and you watched some porn on your laptop years ago and it was used against you to imply you were of unsavory character, or imagine if you mentioned your back hurt in a Facebook message and an insurance company decided they wouldn’t cover you further because you had an existing injury, yet you were just complaining because you had a bad day. How about a purchase you made that was later held against you these are just a couple of these things that could make your life extremely uncomfortable.
Privacy is so absolutely crucial for our reputations because people can judge in haste and can be hypocritical of others actions, especially when taken out of context.
5. Limits on Control
Make no mistake about it. We live in a constant state of surveillance. Taking steps to maintain your privacy helps limit control of not just the government, but the increasing encroachment of the corporate sector on our lives. The more information you have about a person or group, the easier they are to not just monitor but control.
Collected information can give a lot of insight into the sentiment of a society on a particular topic, making the introduction of unpopular legislation much easier. By using large amounts of public information they can make more accurate assessments on exactly what people will tolerate, which then can be further pressed later, leading to more restrictions, and more control.
Keeping your information private, and encouraging others to do the same helps reduce the risk of control and manipulation to a minimum. If you see talk of increased information gathering or other issues that affect not just your privacy but those of others, speak out and show your concern before it's too late. It's much easier to fight against unreasonable legislation or decisions made by private companies that you deal with before changes have been made. Make your vote count, even if it's a matter of voting with your wallet in terms of what companies you are willing to engage with in your day to day existence.
6. Your Personal and Financial Safety is at Risk
When it comes to personal safety, carelessness with your privacy can result in a range of problems from comparatively minor issues, such as a personal secret being exposed, being harassed, even stalked or worse. When neglecting financial privacy, it can lead to theft, robberies or physical attacks. If you won the lotto, would you want everyone knowing where you lived? What about your bank account, are you comfortable showing your savings to the world?
When it comes to cryptocurrency that can be especially concerning for the same reasons. While public ledgers such as those used by the bitcoin network provide an incredible amount of transparency which has many positives, you have to be aware of the information you're sharing in association with your bitcoin or other cryptocurrency holdings. Just as you would you wouldn't generally be comfortable posting your bank balance online, cryptocurrency has the same concerns. So when transacting, trading, or anything related to your finances be sure you know who you are sharing your data with, and more importantly what they are doing with it. While the ultra rich can afford private security, often the rest of us are left to fend largely for ourselves.
Some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have even been attacked in order to try and gain access to their wallets with an intent to steal their funds. In terms of the world of cryptocurrency, with the media talking so much about how a lot of people got quite wealthy, it can be a significant risk to both your personal and financial safety not to take your privacy seriously. Unfortunately it doesn't matter how careful you are with your cryptocurrency private keys if you happen to end up on the other end of a $5 wrench attack (it's literally what it sounds like).
7. Personal Information Is A Commodity
These days if you use any mainstream online social platforms or search engines, you are very likely being monetized. There’s an incredible amount of value for large corporations in gathering as much information about you and everything you do online to then either on-sell to third parties or use for their internal marketing services to engage with you more efficiently.
While you may not mind having ads made more relevant to you, the danger comes with how much information a company gathers about you, what they do with it and what security measures they have in place to ensure that your information is safe.
Every web search, every post on a social platform, all contain profile data that can build up over time to form a diverse digital profile. While social media and many online platforms are part of everyday life for most of us these days, being aware your personal information is a commodity and how you treat your privacy and who you choose to give your information to is essential not just because of how it can be used, but how it can be misused.
There are a growing number of projects that are moving to put either more control or give users benefits from the data they provide and the things they post or just to help to better protect privacy of their users. If you look around you may find a platform that better respects your online privacy or suits your ethics when it comes to data sharing. So if you are open to new social media platforms, there's a lot out there to explore.
What are your thoughts about privacy? If the right to privacy and P2P trading matter to you then you can sign up to LocalCoinSwap and start trading today.