The United States of America is more than a nation; it’s an idea. It shines across the world as an ideal of freedom, possibility, and self-determination.
Any challenges to these ideas must be met with the utmost, most unflinching resistance because once America falls, so does everything else.
Whatever your politics, the American constitution acknowledges that you have a certain set of inalienable rights, meaning that the very fact that you are a human being entitles you to them. This is regardless of race, gender, religion, or political affiliation.
If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that these freedoms are constantly under attack. For the vigilant citizen, the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the historic Roe vs. Wade outcome is one more signal showing the folly of complacency in such matters.
Let’s take a closer look at the ramifications of this development, particularly what these heralds for our data security and privacy protections.
Data Privacy in the United States
Data privacy is becoming an increasingly sore topic among the American and global public. A Pew Research survey shows that approximately 60 percent of Americans believe they cannot go a day without the government or large corporations collecting data on their online and offline activities.
With ever-increasing digitization and technological advancements, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to work, play, learn, socialize, or communicate without leaving a digital footprint of some sort.
This data, which might seem relatively innocuous at face value, is big business for the multinational corporations and governments that rely on Big Data for their policy and business decisions.
As individuals, many find it easy to dismiss data privacy concerns by saying, ‘If you’re not doing anything wrong, then what’s the big deal?’.
Well, the problem is that the ‘wrong’ thing can change at a moment’s notice, which is the realization many have woken up to in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision.
That’s why we should all be concerned with what data privacy laws allow governments and corporations to do and how they might affect each of us.
Challenges to Our Digital Privacy
One of the most frustrating issues surrounding the digital privacy debate is that it is so little we can do to protect our personal information. To put this in perspective, let’s focus on personal health information.
HIPAA is the legislation that prohibits doctors and other medical staff from disclosing private information regarding their clients to any third parties.
While this looks good on paper, it has a provision that compels them to report any suspected criminal activity to the relevant authorities.
Similar provisions apply to various government and private institutions with access to massive amounts of data on people.
Even without such loopholes, current laws allow for massive amounts of data collection and transfer between companies and government authorities.
The European Union put the General Data Protection Regulation protocol (GDPR) in place to help mitigate and control the reach of these increasingly valuable and intrusive operations.
In the United States, similar laws are being formulated and enacted across various states, including New York, California, Connecticut, Colorado, and Virginia, with more states currently in the legislative process.
How to Keep Ourselves Safe and Private
Even as we complain about the current levels of intrusiveness we must contend with; the sad reality is that most of our troubles here can be avoided.
The average person with a smartphone in their pocket is walking around with what amounts to a tracking device that records everything they do, say, buy, or even look at online.
One of the most important tools we currently have in the fight for data security and privacy is a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR).
You can make this request to data gatherers and controllers that compels them to show you all the information they have collected about you.
This allows you to monitor their data collection and ensure that it is not being used in any way that you do not approve of or is illegal.
Period tracker applications, for example, keep tabs on a menstruating person’s monthly flows and can be easily repurposed to identify and track a pregnant person to ensure that they do not obtain an illegal abortion.
While this might not be the present reality, it might not be as far off as we imagine.
The debate around abortions is complex and profoundly polarizing, and it doesn’t help to pretend that there’s an easy answer – if there were one, we would have found it by now. However, most of us are on the same page regarding data security and privacy.
The first and most effective line of defense against intrusive data gathering is not to share any information about ourselves unless it is necessary. As things stand, it might be all we can do. Stay free!
We understand the need to create a safe environment when it comes to businesses dealing with personal data. The need to comply with all the various data privacy laws around the world and to collect consent.
Here, at Adzapier, we provide solutions that fit within and build upon the current landscape with the flexibility to adapt and reform to succeed in this shifting privacy landscape.
Our priority for our clients (publishers, advertisers, brands) is to maintain full transparency when it comes to privacy compliance.