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Convenience Affecting Privacy and Safety of People

Convenience Affecting Privacy and Safety of People

We live in a fast paced society, where people struggle to get many things done at the same time. Millions of people everywhere are trying to pursue a professional development, while taking care of a family, and trying to leave some space for personal time and the things we enjoy on our own. However, it is hard to get everything done with so little time.

Technology has become our means to simplify life and to save time, supposedly. Mobile apps and internet websites have become some of the most convenient ways to get done with shopping, banking, and many other things. However, convenience not always goes along with safety. Philippines investigators have been alerting the population about the risks of using technology carelessly.

According to a news publication in 2015, mobile connections in the Philippines overpassed the population by approximately 14 million by January of 2015. In the last four years, Internet access in the Philippines has grown by 500%, the fastest rate in Southeast Asia.

People are now glued to their cell phones.  Driving down the road texting, walking down the street looking down at the phone, etc.  The world has become full of zombies!

The above figures suggest that Filipinos are every day making a greater use of the digital tools, but the sad part is that criminals in the Philippines are doing so too. The difference is that most of the honest users in the Philippines and everywhere else make us of the apps naively. People normally consider only how easily and fast things can get done, but they do not stop to consider how this may affect their privacy and their overall safety.

The use of apps for everything is becoming mainstream, but people rarely read the privacy agreements to understand what data the application will have access to, or how the information obtained might be used in the future. Most of the time, users grant access to all the personal data contained in the mobile without even noticing it, including photos, location, access to contact information, messages, email contents, navigation and consumption habits, etc.

It is certainly convenient for an app to keep track of your history, because chances are that you might want to do something similar the next time you use it. But tracking and recording all this information means it will at some point be available to hackers, criminals and even political surveillance. Most of the victims to online scam originated in the Philippines are unaware that they were not accidental victims, but prey of people who had already access to their personal information and the took advantage of it. Even dating scammers use personal information to target their victims.

The use of apps and online services like banks and stores has to be conducted only when you understand the terms and the implications of using them. It is good to make the use of technology if this saves you time and money, but privacy and safety should not be put at risk.

Reading privacy agreements, not granting access to personal information to the apps you install, and verifying the websites or apps before taking any important steps are good precautions.

Expert investigators in the Philippines recommend that when users are not willing to learn about the ways to reduce risks, the best option is to go back to the more traditional -and maybe less convenient ways of doing things. Old style face to face interaction is always more secure, and it can save you from a lot of trouble.  Be safe online, and contact an investigator when you need us.

C. Wright
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