My Opinion about: When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

Maybe the title is to long, but aren’t you afraid about privacy online? You deserve to keep your info safe.

Yesterday I went to the local cinema, I put my iPhone (yes, with iOS 8) out of my pocket to see the time and then I realized something. At the bottom of my screen was a symbol, more like a logo; the logo of the cinema in which I was. I was confused, so I unlocked my iPhone and the showtimes for the movies popped up in my screen. Creepy. Why in the name of sanity are they doing this?

For some people this make look cool and it makes easier to see the showtimes and buying tickets; now you don’t have to wait or even interact with people to get your tickets; Business models have changed dramatically in the past 10 years and a major player in this changes is the introduction of smartphones.

Now your smartphone knows How many steps, in which direction and at what rate are you walking, they know if you are in a car, on a bike, on a train, when you are at home, at work, at your daily run… and they even know what kind of things you look for on the internet. Your smartphone knows you better that your wife or certainly, more than your husband.

But why to they need to know so much about me? Since Edward Snowden leaked information about the activities of the NSA and the CIA, everybody went crazy knowing that there is no safe place to be (unless you use an aluminium helmet); the major companies broke on indignation (even when they collaborated with NSA and CIA)and the regular citizens asked for answers. But as time goes by, and now we don’t hesitate to give all our information to our smartphones from access to friends, current location, activities, user profile, age, incoming and even our precious and personal pictures.

As long as we know this information is encrypted and locked in our phone, but the continue integration with the internet makes that not all the information stays local; many data is online and services as Dropbox, Google Drive and Mega have rised as the main options. Of course, we are not including the backup services like iCloud and the features on Google+ that also have your information on the cloud.

Snowden claimed that non of this services is secure. He claims that if you put a sensible document on your Dropbox it may be sold to the NSA, so he recommended to avoid this companies, and if there is no other option use Spider Oak Hive. But there is also known that if you have certain habits on the internet your browser will now and will tell to companies that are looking for people like you to sell you things; for example Walmart has at least a month trying to tell me on every ad that I need a Wii U.

Major internet providers knows that who controls the internet controls the information and the world so there have been many movements that are looking for supporters to keen the internet secure, free and with all rights that we deserve.

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But let’s return to the topic; What’s going on with your personal information? As long as we know… we don’t know. Companies as Apple claim that they don’t sell your information because you are a costumer and their business is selling hardware and software not information, so every data collected from you in anonymus and temporal.

We don’t know if this claims are true, or if they are telling us what we want to hear. The fact is that there is never wrong to take measures; don’t share sensitive information online, don’t be so quick when companies ask for information, change continuously your password (and for god’s sake 1234 is not a password), and please, Do NOT activate auto-backup of information. Wanna an example? How about the Celebgate? The information online is your information and you must be responsible when sharing, because companies may not be as good as they claim securing your info.

It is not about being paranoid, is about being responsible and knowing that having all this fancy and easy to use things… sometime have a price.

-W

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