Don’t scroll past the peeking

The lack of privacy in the digital age


Sannidhi Arimanda

Social media can be a dangerous place to spread information. The Sidekick advertising/circulation manager Anushree De believes that social media can expose private and personal information, creating an unsafe environment.

Anushree De, Advertising/Circulation Manager

The buildings are in gray and white, as if they have been plunged into some Instagram filter. But it’s not just the buildings. Clothes, food, even people have all become a desolate gray. 

Everything is a sea of monochrome, except those posters of the man with the enormous eyes – frightening eyes that follow your every step. The caption underneath the posters runs: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. 

I open my eyes with a satisfying smile. I call myself a self-proclaimed “connoisseur” of literature, but despite the many books I’ve read, George Orwell’s timeless classic 1984 remains a favorite.

I found solitude in knowing that the far-fetched dystopian world that Orwell created would never find a home in my world. It was comforting to think my reality would never become a place where my every move is under the critical eye of some murky figure, right? 


As much as books have always been satisfying, I will forever be an iPad kid. As I’ve grown up, so has the technology around me. The internet is revered as a tool for globalization, communication, information and mindless entertainment. But the culture of the digital age, although an absolute treasure, is a double-edged sword. 

Upon every new vast venture to the web or expansive search on the internet, we make a continuous sacrifice: a part of ourselves to access the greater world of technology. 

What is the exchange? Privacy. This trade for technology seems fair, reasonable even. We pass off privacy in today’s world, laughing at our lack of through phrases like “my FBI agent is spying on me.”

But I have nothing to hide, you say, so why should I care?

After you read this article, you’re going to go home and lock your door because the thought of having someone enter your home is absolutely appalling to you. If you’re a high school student, you’ll go into your room and close your door because you don’t want your parents to distract you. Maybe you’ll do some homework on your laptop which has a password. If I took your laptop to look at what you were doing you would pull it from my grasp and scoff at me. The truth is we find refuge within our privacy. 

Even if people claim they have nothing to hide, their actions imply the very opposite. We as human beings intrinsically understand the importance of privacy. To be human is to have a place to go to be free of the critical eyes of other people. We value privacy in the real world to a significant extent. But why is there a dissonance between our care for privacy in the real world and in the digital one?

Much of it comes from the fact that the real world is exactly that: real. We recognize the very tangible impacts of locking our house, closing a door or having a password. Technology is a different story. Although we use technology on the daily, it is much harder to comprehend to what extent our privacy is violated. The inability to see the peeking eyes of the puppets that we fall prey to makes us believe they don’t exist. Behind the veneer of our technology screens lies an expansive terrain of data reducing our existence to a series of 0s and 1s.

Despite the crucial importance of privacy, especially with technology, that intrinsic right is inhibited. It has become progressively easier to access information about ourselves online. More specifically, there are three actors that impose on this right: corporations, colleagues and the government. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “technology may invade my privacy, but there is no way I’m giving up this absolute treasure.”

And you’re absolutely correct. We can’t just abandon technology, especially when so much of what we do relies on it. So, what can we do about the lack of privacy in the digital age?

First, we must become aware that technology does offer an outlet to access our personal lives. Monitoring our online digital presence and the implications they have for us is a key step to change. 

But secondly, we can take control of our internet presence to a certain extent. A simple Google search shows what personal information is publicly accessible. Going through the extra step of only allowing the cookies you want enables you to reclaim some digital privacy.

Every cookie leaves crumbs, and if we don’t sweep them every once in a while, we leave those crumbs for someone else to eat. 

Follow Anu (@anushree_night) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.