Check out this wikipedia listing of data breaches. It includes names like Google, Apple, Experian, Equifax, Facebook, Yahoo, AT&T, Medicaid, Medicare, Citigroup, Department of Homeland Security, etc. The list is a long one. All of these sites had privacy policies. All of them were hacked.
The internet and it’s infrastructure are not designed for privacy. Privacy is always something that requires effort—building walls, installing alarms, putting up barriers, creating diversions, implementing security measures of all kinds. It doesn’t happen unless someone makes the effort to make it happen. And even then, there are never any guarantees. The internet is changing so quickly and is so complex, that no one can ever say they’ve got it locked down.
As a general rule, you should not share any information on any site anywhere on the internet regardless of any publicly stated privacy settings unless you are comfortable with the fact that the information extracted from the data you share, deliberately or inadvertently, might one day be made public or used privately to influence you in ways you don’t want to be influenced.
The simple truth of the matter is this. I can promise you I’ll do my best to keep your data private, and I do make that promise, but I can’t promise you that I will control technologies or people I can’t control. Here is what we do to protect your privacy.
- High Country Mac enforces secure connections with your browser so all data transmitted both ways, to and from your browser, is encrypted.
- High Country Mac does not deliberately collect any data from you except what you intentionally insert into forms.
- High Country Mac does not share or provide any user data to any other entity.
- High Country Mac conforms with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- High Country Mac complies with the Do Not Track (DNT) standard recommended by the World Wide Web consortium.
- High Country Mac does not display content not hosted within the High Country Mac domain.
- High Country Mac may link to content external to the High Country Mac domain.
- High Country Mac does not participate with third-parties that may set cookies or other trackers in your browser’s cache.
At every layer of this interdependence on privacy enforcement are human beings. This is a vulnerability that cannot be avoided.
We have no idea if we can trust the system administrators roaming around in the data centers where our data resides. And, you can bet your ass that if they can’t be trusted, they’re not advertising it.
We don’t know the backdoors built into the code that runs the routers that tell the bits and bytes initiated within the authorized and unauthorized sessions on our connected digital devices where to go on the internet.
We don’t know if the programmers who write the software that runs the sites and apps to which we give our information are honorable.
We don’t know the private and potentially nefarious intentions of the people who pay the salaries of the engineers and coders who make the hardware and software that allows us to connect to one another on the internet.
However, we do know that hackers and even legally empowered law enforcement entities manage to get massive amounts of data about us all the time, legally and illegally, for uses that they never disclose publicly unless it is to their advantage.
And we should know by now that we can’t stop them in the current environment. These are the people we’re letting into our lives with our lack of concern for privacy. But that ship has already sailed.
We live in a time in which corporate profits without social or environmental responsibility or sustainability are the top priority. These concerns, in many cases, override any concern for the dignity of individuals. People, and, of course, their privacy are exploitable resources these days.
We have only the vaguest of ideas about which corporations actually own the companies we deal with. We have no reliable way to determine the motives of executives leading the companies we deal with. And, regardless of what their motives are today, we have no idea how disruptions in the marketplace might influence their motives, decisions and actions in the future.
This lack of transparency and disclosure is a huge feature in the landscape of the internet that we all tiptoe around and don’t talk about. There are few regulations and less enforcement. It’s time for more conversation around these issues.
If you are really, really concerned about your privacy, stay off the internet, get off the grid, don’t own any property, refrain from using credit cards, steer clear of social media, don’t own devices that use integrated circuits, wear elaborate disguises and surgical gloves whenever you come out of your cave, avoid talking to other people or writing what you are thinking, hope you never win the lottery, and pray for luck.
If you’re really interested, here are links to the privacy policies of the service providers that High Country Mac deals with online. If you read all these, you and I will probably be the only ones who did.