Let’s face it; most of us do not bother to check whether or not the website stops working unless we accept cookies. We just click ‘agree’ and keep browsing without thinking about the consequences. Some say that personal data has become the most expensive currency in the world. Regular Internet users may not know how what they do online affects their life, but the truth is, it does. Cybersecurity is no longer about hackers and whistleblowers from the tech world. The more time we spend online, the more prominent our digital trace, and the more personal data is available to both first and third parties. The entertainment industry is not an exception.
What about Netflix?
In the recent decade, Netflix has become synonymous with entertainment for many of us. We spend hours watching (or browsing, which is almost as fun) its content. In turn, Netflix learns what we like and recommends us exactly the movies and television shows we are likely to enjoy. Understandably, such sensitivity to user preferences evokes concerns about cybersecurity.
Well, in Netflix’s case, there is nothing to worry about. Despite Netflix’s almost alarming understanding of what we like and crave, the platform is not interested in demographics. It does not know who you are, how old you are, and what your background is. The only type of data Netflix is consciously collecting is what you like to watch. Based on your viewer history and searches, it makes the most appropriate recommendations and generates the thumbnails that are likely to draw your attention.
Another form of entertainment that has been on the rise recently is iGaming. Because of the global pandemic, with most of us stuck in our homes, online gambling has been a source of much-needed excitement. However, many gamblers who used to frequent land-based casinos are afraid of switching to their online counterparts out of fear for one’s cyber security and online casinos’ data collection. Again, there is nothing to worry about, even less so than in Netflix’s case. Suppose you want to give online games of chance a chance (ha!), feel free to go to SlotsUp and check out one of the online casinos offered on the platform. None of them requires authorization or collects any user data if you are fine with free demos for starters.
Now, this gets a little trickier. Unlike streaming services and online casinos, social networking sites do collect users’ personal data, and very much so. One of the most extreme representations of social media’s control of us is their use of DoubleClick. Through their affiliation with DoubleClick, both Facebook and Google can use the data acquired from mailing services and, on top of this, follow us wherever we go (thanks to smartphones). Over the past couple of years, the government has passed several privacy-protecting regulations, but they are inconclusive and do not do much.
Simply put, cookies are pieces of information saved about you when you are online. Thanks to the data collected this way, websites and advertisers know where you are located, what you are interested in, and, as a result, what ad will catch your interest. While first-party cookies are collected for the needs of the specific website you are visiting, third-party ones are from advertisers. You should not be surprised when you realize that your browser seems to know you are in the middle of renovating your living room. It just does.
The obvious advice is always to read terms of service and privacy policies. But honestly, is there anyone who does so? Hopefully, privacy legislation will soon be improved, but for now, there is not much you can do to protect your data completely. VPN is a good start, yet it is nowhere near good enough.