Digital Privacy

Is digital privacy a right or a treat for individuals?


Several recent events like the enactment of the EU GDPR, 2018, Data Protection Act, 2019, and other Data Privacy Laws that have been passed in several countries should make us re-think our digital rights and privileges in the new decade.

The answer to this title depends on a number of factors putting into consideration of matters like regulations, location, culture, and financial agreements between data owners and data processors. These are just a few of the considerations that may influence one’s viewpoint on the required, and expected level of digital privacy.

When I ask some of my audience their digital privacy, they are surprised to learn that their surfing habits could now be collected and sold, though they all already know about cyberstalking when they search for anything on the internet. 

Web services are so central to our lives that we consider them an essential utility. An initial assessment of the current Web tracking landscape paints a depressing picture.

Researchers have confirmed that third-party software is embedded in the most popular websites, monitoring people’s visits and activity by using incredibly intrusive methods to identify and track individuals. Even when anti-tracking techniques are deployed, trackers have devised creative schemes to bypass them and continue monitoring user behavior.

First and for most, everyone should know their right to opt-out of the collection and distribution of personal data without losing privileged services or paying higher rates or extra fees. However, during registration on most Apps, when you opt-out or decline the request to review your media, location, text messages, you relinquish to be eligible to access /use the service.

In this article, I have quite a number of questions than answers and feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below

Question: If I spend a ton of money buying data bundles to stay online every day and everyone online wants to follow me, stream to me, view my posts and read my articles, why shouldn’t I get a piece of the action? Why can’t individuals be given premium status as an appreciation? Why does this process only work in reverse?

Question: The larger issue is the argument about privacy’s status: is it a “right” or is it a “privilege”? The overarching issue is about how far you endorse one.

Last thoughts

We have now come to realize how difficult it is for the average person to keep track of what sensitive information has been collected about them and who has access to it. Moreover, the digital footprint of an individual is steadily growing like a ripple effect, spreading to untraceable corners of the Internet. I am glad that the Data Protection Act, 2019 has provisions to transparency where individuals have a right to know where their data ends up and who’s using it and for what purpose. However, this will call for post-legislation review to justify that this provision is indeed implemented and people are sensitized of their rights to digital privacy.

Way forward

Step 1:            Know your Right to Privacy.

Step 3:            Educate others.

Step 2:          Be moderate of what you put out there.


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