Privacy, we always talk about it, but are we aware of it…digitally?

Andy Ding
3 min readOct 12, 2020

It was a very long time ago that the CEO of Baidu, a Chinese IT company, Yanhong Li said that people are willing to get more convenience by selling out their own information. This was definitely ridiculous, but as a person born and live in China for that many years, the leaking of privacy is a serious problem. I’ve experienced that after just got a new sim card with a new number from the carrier, without telling anyone, the scam and advertising calls were already in. Well, this time was a scam call, but what would the next time be? As long as the information of a person is exposed enough, anything could happen, from phone fraud to identity theft. The most horrible thing is that in the digital world, sometimes people may not be aware of leaking, or potential leaking of their privacy. As a result, it is important to learn more about digital privacy because it is the baseline for us to protect ourselves online.

Closely related to the problem of privacy, the concept of algorithm now appears more frequently in people’s sight. Sometimes, a relatively optimized algorithm would create the feeling that we have no secrets because it predicts our think mostly correct. It is true that the algorithm is necessary for us since it does benefit us in some situations (Raine & Anderson, 2017), but what the most important is that we can not ignore ethics and morality. An extreme, but clear example would be humans’ strong desire for survival. Thus, algorithms have their positive sides for society, but could not be the thing that dominates society.

One thing surprised me this week that I just realized that there are too many possibilities for us to leak our privacy digitally, but it looks like what we can do seems very few. And finally, it may not be true that we are willing to get convenience by selling out our information, but it would be true that we have to sacrifice convenience to protect our privacy. Like Telegram Messenger, I could start a secured chat, but all my records could not be synced and would be deleted automatically after a certain period of time. As a result, if I want to find something in that conversation, how could I?

If you have confusion with what I talked about, then read this case maybe help you to understand more: Schools are mining students’ social media posts for signs of trouble, but should they?