Free WiFi Could End Up Costing You More Than You Think

in #interent3 years ago

Hey JessInterneters

I was sitting at a little coffee shop in the wine country of Stellenbosch, and we're surrounded by so much natural beauty, and it was such a lovely day. All I did was enjoy my breakfast and sit and take in my surroundings, but everywhere around me, people were fixated on their digital devices. I would probably have been too if my battery wasn't dead.

Being in tech I know the dangers of specific user behaviour and how several companies continue to extract data they can use to improve their data modelling for ad platforms to sell to other companies and turn a profit.

We all know that Facebook and Google are tracking the things we do on their websites. We all know Apple and other device manufacturers are tracking what you do with their devices (You never owned your Smartphone, you've been renting it and paying in instalments of the data you provide). We've heard outcries about it and rightly so, but there's data vulnerability and tracking system people don't rant and rave about and that is public WiFi.


WiFi or Why Freedom?

Due to our fixation with the internet, each day people clamour into various stores and restaurants and connecting to their WiFi creating an intricate data map of the places they visit, their frequency, the things they search for, the websites they visit and the intentions they have when using the internet in various places.

When you use a public WiFi, you are at the mercy of the provider, and you're trusting them to run a secure line, which let's be honest your local coffee shop couldn't be bothered about online privacy and securing their WiFi correctly. There are serious dangers and pitfalls to using public WiFif, and I think people need to realise that these small freedoms are things that can quickly erode with time if not stopped.

To use Free WiFi or go WiFi free?

The more we are willing to give away freedoms for the sake of more "free" stuff and "free access, the more these companies and service providers will keep pushing the limits. I realise that most people don't care about their privacy and are willing to contribute their data without a second thought. I understand that people are sheep and are easily manipulated online as they trust everything that comes across their screen.

But what I also realise is that if we do not take a stand and unplug, make it harder for companies to find and collect our data the less profitable they can be. While the manipulation of our data has been seen as innocent by selling products we can see now that it can be used to drive political discourse in certain ways, insight unrest and violence and even push for legislative changes.

Its the company selling you an idea that you sell back to yourself. It's a sort of inception!

Don't air your dirty data in public

While I would never advise anyone to connect to public WiFi, if it is a must, you can do a few things to protect yourself when compared to an open hotspot. My best advice would be to chill out, have a drink and connect when you get home.

Let's connect

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I feel sad when I see a group of folks hanging out together, but instead of chatting and laughing, they'd all be glued to their smartphones. Whatever happened to the good ole days of hanging out, huh? Insightful article ^_^

Sadly I think that those days are gone now and people have become slaves to the device. You need to actually find people who actively reject the programming :) like me...when I can! I like hanging out, lol I just told my friend yesterday if you gave me a soccer ball or wifi I'd be with that soccer ball all day :P

I do not use my phone much except when travelling. It is not registered to me. I wonder what the info is for it, and how my odd patterns look :)

Well your PII doesn't really matter in a sense as in your name, gender and age but it does help. all they looking at is user A1 looks at this, performs these actions and then overlays it with other users who do similar things and try to group them together and see what prompts resonate best with each group

Still a good way to operate though, unfortunately, there is just no opting out of it all at this point.

Interesting, @chekohler. I will just do what I am doing and hope for the best :)

I wish there was something other than the two options of either unplug or be tracked. Computers and cell phones aren't going anywhere and although we should be cautious of spending too much time on them, we shouldn't have to shut them off just to have some privacy. And they're still tracking even when data is off - they'll just upload the data later.

I agree with you! It sucks that the devices we use, there is no real competition and it's all coming from a few companies. Until we can get independent manufactures or be able to run our own custom software on devices it's not going to change. They see the value in our data and they're not going to let it go so easily.

I try to reduce my data footprint as much as possible, but It is almost unavoidable feeding the beast.

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