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New Toys and Privacy

Published by on under the Technology category.

Privacy matters a great deal to me. I feel like while the internet is useful, it should only serve to bring about joy in my life. I struggle to find joy in companies that use my data for their profit.

Reducing My Online Footprint

My opinions on privacy are slowly starting to change. Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone on a journey to reduce the number of services I use to the greatest extent possible. I found some strange joy in doing this. It’s like deleting yourself from services is a game; the more you can remove of yourself, the better.

Days after, I felt a strange emptiness. Perhaps this was a result of reducing both the internet services I use and the great tidy up I done of my workspace a few weeks ago. I do not like this emptiness.

I tried to figure out what caused this feeling. It took me down a strange direction. I purchased a book called How to Do Nothing which, I believe, tried to convince me that I should not feel guilty about sitting and doing nothing. The trouble is that I like doing stuff. Minimalism is nice but not all the time.

While I still care about my privacy, I’m starting to feel like giving away a little bit of privacy is worth the trade-off if it means I can play with new technologies.

Technology is a Hobby

As hard as some articles have tried to convince me that technology is bad and that, basically, we should all be living lives without it, my thoughts have not changed on the matter. I love technology. I do know what led me to look into reducing my online footprint. I started to feel like many of the things I was doing were not useful. The programs I was building were getting monotonous.

I like playing with new technologies. It’s a hobby to me. That is why I have decided to start experimenting with a few platforms that I have not used before.

Instagram and Foursquare Swarm

Instagram and Foursquare Swarm are at the heart of many privacy debates. Foursquare especially, given how they are a location tracking company. What on Earth posessed me to sign up to these platforms? They look like cool toys with which I can play. They’re interesting technologies.

I have recently started taking photos of the coffees that I drink while I am out. I’m enjoying taking more photos of myself and my surroundings. I am very much an amateur but I get a lot of pleasure out of taking a good photo. The iPhone makes it so easy. I wondered to myself: how can I best collect these photos? The answer? Instagram.

Because I am now going out a bit more, I’ve been wondering whether I could do better at tracking where I go. I presently have an Airtable spreadsheet where I track all the coffees I drink and brew and where I drink them. I like the idea of keeping this log. Foursquare Swarm lets me do this effectively. What’s more, their platform lets me keep notes about the places that I go. It looks useful.

Giving Them a Shot

I have just signed up to these platforms within the last hour. I cannot speak to their utility nor their uselessness. I would say that I feel like I have not given them a fair shake in the past. I’ve always dismissed these platforms on account of their privacy.

What if I want to keep track of my location? I have found life logging quite interesting in the past. I do not need an article to tell me that I’m doing something bad by sharing information with these companies. If I get some value out of their platforms, I am going to use them.

That’s the thing about privacy: everyone has their own parameters. I am realizing that my parameters are changing. I’m now starting to get a bit more comfortable sharing information on the web, within the confines of my personal comfort zone. I will likely have more to share as I start using these platforms.

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