Almost all the nations in the world have a democratic government & practice laws and regulations led by a secular, democratic constitution. This democratic system of law & order provides every individual with the right to practice freedom of thought & expression. Every individual is free to express their thoughts, without any fear in a democracy. But in today’s technological era, where most of the thoughts are expressed digitally, it is often seen that freedom is compromised on digital platforms.
A report by Freedom house suggests that the year 2018 has been the eighth consecutive year, when the digital freedom & rights of the people have deteriorated, owing to the breaches & hackings, which are evidence to the fact that our digital data is being constantly monitored. As an individual, it’s important for you to understand what happens to all the data you put online about yourself & why is it important for you to have digital freedom.
WHAT IS DIGITAL FREEDOM?
Digital freedom refers to the right to express your thoughts & opinions in the digital world & to save your digital assets, without the fear of them being misused, stolen or monitored without your will.
The first-ever mention of digital privacy or the right to privacy in the digital world was made in the Egyptian Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression in a research paper, wherein they talked about how the privacy of the users should be maintained in the digital world, as it is in the physical world. It declares this freedom as a right & not a prerogative. It also lays down principles regarding digital freedom.
Simply said, it talks about your freedom in the digital world. Digital Freedom advocates your rights to stay unmonitored & unowned on the internet. What you do on the internet, what data you store should not be anyone else’s business than just yours on the internet.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR DIGITAL FREEDOM?
If you don’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject of Digital Freedom, you might easily misjudge how critical it is. The reason why it is an essential subject to talk about is that with the coming years, more & more people are going to become a part of the digital world & for all our data to be safe, there needs to be a system, that keeps it safe.
You Don’t Really Own Your Data
This might sound a bit odd if you have been believing that all that data you put on your social media accounts completely belongs to you. If you have the knowledge of any of the multiple breaches happening in the last few years, you won’t be living in this misconception. A good example of this will be the Facebook Cambridge Analytica breach wherein Facebook data of more than 50 million users was compromised. Other examples include the iCloud breach from apple or the biggest breaches of all time, the Yahoo data breach. These breaches make you realize that your data is not as safe as you deem it to be on the internet, someone can always reach it. And if they can reach it, what guarantees they won’t misuse it.
Someone Might Be Watching You
It is no more a secret that companies & governments monitor data throughout the world. For some reason or another, your data is thoroughly monitored by officials. Though it might be for useful purposes, the question that remains is that isn’t it a breach of privacy in the digital world? Why should you be restricted from practising your right of expression? A major aspect of digital freedom is to completely stop this monitoring, leaving you & only you the owner of your digital data.
You Should Decide What You Share & Where You Share It
Now, if you belong to countries like the USA, you might not be so familiar with the concept. But consider nations like China, where around 800 million internet users are banned from using social media services or many foreign websites & if found guilty for using any of these are imposed with serious fines & punishment. Moreover in many countries, sharing certain posts can put you in trouble. Digital freedom advocates the right for individuals to have the right to freely express their opinion on digital platforms as well.
Someone’s Putting Your Data Up For Sale
You might not have heard of data brokers. But these people exist & they sell your personal data to companies for as low as 500 Rs. Data brokers gain access to your data, from sources where you put in information about yourself & later sell it on unauthorized sites for either companies or other people to buy & use it for their own benefits. An example of this is when the data stolen in the Yahoo breach was sold on an unauthorized site, for really low prices. Some of this data also included personal data including contact data, birth dates & even passwords of some users.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Seeing the whole scenario, you must be sure by now, that we haven’t acquired digital freedom yet. But there are foundations, that fight for the digital freedom of the people. It is an ongoing battle, which they will hopefully win. Though gaining complete digital freedom is a big feat, which might take a lot of time, there is something you should do at your own level to stop your data from being sold, misused or stolen.
What you can do here is that you can own a tiny piece of the internet for yourself.
As impossible as this statement might sound, it is actually possible for you to acquire a tiny part of the internet with Houm. How this works is once you buy a domain on Houm, you get a little piece of the internet where you can save your digital assets & avoid them from being stolen or misused. The only person with control over your Houm domain is you. You can link all your social media & other online accounts so that your data remains safe from prying eyes. This helps you exercise complete digital freedom.
If you too wish to keep your data completely safe, you should get your own Houm.
THE LAST WORD:
Digital freedom is the rising need of the hour & we all need to do our bit to ensure it on a personal level. And it starts by securing your own data completely. You need to start owning your data & be very careful about where you share your data because there are hardly any platforms, where your data is safe.