We have almost all had the experience where you are talking about a restaurant, product, or something else, and then suddenly Facebook and Instagram are showing you sponsored posts about that very thing. You think to yourself… did I even search for that somewhere? Was it just something I said? And suddenly you are very creeped out.
The marketer in me loves this. Companies that are paying attention to what you need, when you need it are geniuses!
Once upon a time, I posted a photo of my child losing their first tooth. A company that sells tooth fairy doctored photos responded to my tweet about how wonderful it was. They didn’t even try to sell me their product, but their username had me intrigued. I looked at their profile and website and thought how smart it was for them to look for parents that need their product at the exact moment they need it! I can appreciate when companies are paying attention.
So, let’s get to the real issue here.
I know that when I search for something I should expect to see ads based on that search, but what about conversations I have? Where are they getting this information?
My husband is extremely against turning on the Alexa feature for any of our Alexa enabled devices. I have to have my Google Home in my office, so it is not in the rest of the house. He is also extremely concerned about any indoor cameras and never allowed them until the Ooma Butterfleye which has privacy enabled features.
I have explained to him on numerous occasions though, that these things don’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things since our phones are able to do the exact same things as our smart speakers and cameras. He does truly believe we are in for a Terminator future and calls most of those devices SkyNet, and he may not be wrong, but at this point, I believe that privacy no longer exists anyway.
I watch Live PD every week, and when the people the officers are speaking to say to them, “you do not have my consent to film me” or something to that effect, the officers just brush it off and explain that the cameras are there for the officer, not the subject. The truth is, since the person is out in public, they do not require consent to be filmed. By being in public they lose the right to privacy.
We have all seen videos of people causing a scene at a restaurant, or store. When everyone has a video camera in their pocket, you should never feel like you have the right to privacy when you are anywhere. That is just the world we currently live in. You should realize that anywhere you go and anything you do can be filmed and used to embarrass you.
However, should you expect some sort of privacy in your own home? With all of the smart appliances and technology that is being created for our homes, I would say that no, I think we have waved bye-bye to true privacy a while ago. Unless you want to live completely off the grid, with no access to technology, you should not live under the illusion that you have privacy.
Our digital footprint is just too wide now. We overshare our lives, we invite devices into our home that has the ability to listen to us, and many don’t understand the privacy we are relinquishing for the conveniences we enjoy today.
I am fully aware of the price I pay for the technology that helps make my life easier, and it’s a price I am completely willing to pay. I live under the assumption that anyone can find anything about me if they look hard enough. Sure, I could go out of my way to make it more difficult to find, but if they really wanted to, they could probably still find it.
Modern-day privacy is a myth. We welcome the technology that can improve our lives, like our smartphones and smart speakers, and I, for one, am ok with that.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com