So here’s the deal: most of us live in developed countries, with stable (at least enough, or for now) economies, and we lead cushy lives, sheltered from being worried about anything truly major. Unfortunately, some aspects of it aren’t so pretty, and there are a few things far too few people worry about that affect everyone with a digital life.

If you’ve heard about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you’ll know where I’m going with this. Although our physical selves aren’t really stocked on supermarket shelves, everything about us — what we like, who we spend time with, what we do — is valuable data, auctioned off to pretty much whoever is prepared to pay for it.

While at first, that may seem like some good ol’ paranoia, just think about it for a minute. How many free products do you use? Are you on Facebook? Do you have a Gmail account? Ever Googled anything? Now that’s not to say, for example, that Google sells your data directly, not even Facebook does, but they make good money off of it.

With the evolution of digital life and the widespread expectancy for free online services, companies have found ways to make us think we’re getting something at no charge while using our data to make money. It’s the reality of the world we live in, and short of attempting to completely wean yourself off anything digital, we have to at least know where we stand.

Your Facebook Likes Know Everything About You

As far-fetched as it may sound, it has been actually scientifically proven that your Facebook likes analysis describes your personality much more accurately than your friends or colleagues could do. If that’s of any relief, your spouse’s assessment will probably at least come close; but would you really want a corporation to know you just as well as your life partner does?

This study is a solid proof that collecting user data goes far and beyond simply targeting an ad to show you a t-shirt with a cat on it if you like cats. When a company knows that much about its potential customers, it can sell pretty much anything to anyone, and at the end of the day, that’s what capitalism is all about.

However, it can go far and beyond that. There’s been a new study that managed to identify people using seismic data. The seismic data I’m referring to here is your steps, and it took them only 10 to reach 95{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} precision, which is positively insane, especially considering that even a single step was enough to identify 73{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} people correctly.

Now most of us live in capitalist countries where democracy is the default setting, so the things I’ll talk about now will probably get to us later. Unfortunately, I cannot in a good conscience say that I’m 100{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} sure democracy can prevent this from happening at all, as believe me, this stuff is straight out of a Black Mirror episode.

In China, there’s this new social points system going on. Simply said, everything you do impacts your score, for example, your loans and debts. If this sounds like an innocent credit rating, hold on to your socks. Your social circles, bad driving, smoking where it’s not permitted, buying too many video games and other frankly ridiculous things also impact this score.

This is where it gets truly grim: this score can have devastating consequences to a person’s wellbeing. The Chinese government is already demonstrating what they plan to do about low scores: ban people from flying or getting in business class on trains, getting into best schools, or getting a good job. They also plan to publically shame people who have bad scores.

By 2020, they plan to have the entire country already enrolled in this system — and China’s population is the largest of any country in the world. Approximately 20{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} of the entire human race lives there, so this straight-up creepy utopia either already is or will be a reality to at least 1.4 billion people very, very soon.

And it’s spreading. Chinese telecom giant helped Venezuela develop a social credit rating system of their own. At this point, all we can do is hope that the democracy in the country where we’re the citizens is stronger than that. All of the sudden the horribly negative effects social media has kind of seem tame, don’t they?

How Your Data Makes Money

Now that we’ve established that your data is pretty valuable, let’s take a step back from these totalitarian governments and look at the way we’re being exploited in the Western world.

Even though the worst thing about social media for you is probably seeing all your enemies, friends, and ex’s lead seemingly perfect lives, it’s one of the major sources of data for the companies who profit off of it.

The way biggest corporations that have entangled the majority of the globe’s adults in their services make money is by using our data to tailor perfect ads. That is how information — albeit generalized and kind of anonymized — gets to the hands of the highest bidder.

Although Facebook messed up and the flaws in their security systems allowed third-parties such as Cambridge Analytica get directly to user data, most of the companies simply rely on their built-in ad system to target you.

That’s how it works with Google, too. And let’s be honest, out of the two, it’s probably Google who has way more details on what you really enjoy. Personalization works, and that’s why everyone is doing it to sell you more stuff that you, at best, barely need. Numbers don’t lie: Google made $27.27 Bn with its customized ads last year.

You’re profiled, analyzed, and then marketed and re-marketed at again and again every day. It’s become so commonplace that it doesn’t even raise any eyebrows. Various influencers claim to love products they probably never used in their life, because well, it’s their job to sell you stuff you don’t need.

And that’s how the circle of life goes on in the digital age. You work more to get things you ultimately could live without, and then work some more to cover your credit card debt. Marketing made sure you’re always chasing the high of getting something new; and as it is with any addiction, you’re never really satisfied with what you have.

Consumerism is at the core of the capitalist economy. Good news though — millennials seem to be pretty good at suffocating it. Let’s just hope it doesn’t evolve to China’s social credit system any time soon.

How to Stay Sane in the Digital Age

Now that I’ve probably ruined your day with all this upsetting information, you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can possibly do about it, or should you just retreat to a forest and live off the land.

Well, the best option here is simply to start being mindful about what you share. The internet may seem private since you’re accessing it from your couch, but it’s far from that. If you stop oversharing and only input what you truly think you need to, you’re already better off than the majority of us.

You might want to look into using privacy tools, too, such as VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), but stay clear of the free ones, cause surprise surprise, they also sell your data. Oh, and most of them are either located in China or belong to the Chinese.

Understand that any information about you is valuable to someone. While in some cases that someone is a hacker, in others it’s a company who wants you to spend your money. If you’re aware of it, you can make informed choices.

In any case, it’s best to know what you’re up against. While the pre-digital era may seem all perfect and worry-free, it was far from that; and despite whether you think technology improved our lives or worsened them, it’s not going anywhere. It’s up to you to make the best of it.

At ROKKEX, we take security extremely seriously and our crypto exchange is built on ‘Security First’ principle. We want to share our expertise with the broader public for the world to become happy, safe, and wise.

If you have any ideas and suggestions, contact us at

Website . LinkedIn . Facebook . Twitter . Telegram . Reddit . Instagram 

Leave a Reply