While the right to privacy is universal and free, upgrading privacy settings on lives comes with a price tag.
There are eye opening revelations from the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. Ghost numbers appearing in phonebooks. Google apps’ tracking people even after their phones’ location is disabled. There lies a persistent suspicion that apps are spying on us.
In services, a restaurant could pay extra to gain specific details of people who disliked its food/services on a review website, and bar them entry. Or, an Uber-like service could bar people having a rating (from drivers) below a threshold. These could open a premium service where our ratings are not revealed to service providers. The opportunity for such creative use of slicing privacy is limited only by imagination.
However, in Truecaller, there is already an initiation for this, in URL registration, where, for a fee, your contact details and identity can be hidden. As more people fully comprehend the value of privacy, offering ‘private’ as a premium option could soon become a legitimate business.
But increasing digital privacy is not necessarily a costly affair.
Better privacy does require changes in our behavior. We need to switch our online portals. Mastodon and GNU Social are great replacements for Facebook and Twitter. Signal, Wire, and GNU Ring for WhatsApp and Skype. We can browse the Web using the anonymous Tor Browser. But this will come with the price of change in our behavioral patterns. Are we ready for it?