Not All Online Data Gathering Is Bad, Don't Let Fear Stop You From Using It To Your Advantage

Companies are gathering information on me at this very moment and I'm OK with that. Well I should clarify that I am OK with it as long as it benefits me. My views on digital privacy are a bit different than many peoples, I am fine with companies can taking my data as long as it benefits me as well as them. Google is a prime example of this, I let them take my data so they can target me with more relevant ads but they also use that data to make my life better. (To keep this post short I am only going to give one example.) I allow them to read all of my emails so Google Now knows about my restaurant or hotel reservations and reminds me about them, makes sure I leave on time, gives me directions automatically, and makes finding the original confirmation email easy. I have allowed Google to read my emails since Google Now came to iOS but until recently it has only been to benefit me. They have started reading my email to better target me with ads and I equate this with the price I pay for a free service. I don't like it, but I can tolerate it.

An hotel card from Google Now. (Credit to Google for the photo.)

An hotel card from Google Now. (Credit to Google for the photo.)

iOS 'Send Diagnostics and Usage

You probably have 'Send Diagnostics and Usage' turned off on your iOS devices, I don't. I have mine turned on because I want Apple to know my usage habits to try and get an iOS experience more tailored to the advance user. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of advanced users turn this off, meaning the only data Apple receives is from the un-technological that didn't even know what it meant when they agreed to it. I am not saying you should turn this on but don't just turn it off without thinking of the possible effect leaving it on could have.

Different Forms Of Tracking

Digital privacy is an important thing and with the boogeymen, like the NSA and applications who harvest our data to sell, are tainting what could be a very promising area of technology. We shouldn't lump all forms of personal data tracking together out of fear. With all these privacy scares from the NSA, everyone is scared of being tracked online and this has a very negative effect on data tracking's possible potential for enriching your life. We just have to separate what kinds of tracking we are OK with and the kinds we aren't. I am against Facebook, and other companies that take my data, to make money selling our data or target us with ads and offer no benefit to us. (Though I am aware of the adage "If you're not paying for a service, you're the product.") I am also against the wholesale collection of data by governments around the world. However I am for Google, or another company, enriching my life by taking every bit of data it can about my life and coming up with tools that help me use this information in a better way. The tracking of personal data could be an exciting addition to our computing lives but it will never take off if everyone is too scared to see the advantages. My message to you is: Don't let fear cloud your judgement and lump all forms of tracking together. Use your own judgement and decide if you are OK being tracked if it benefits you.


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