Privacy; a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people/a state of being free from public attention.
What are we talking about?
The most talked about topic of 2020 centres around COVID-19. Since the 31st December 2019 we have seen a tsunami of happenings advance at a crazy speed triggered by a respiratory virus that has shown no bias. A virus that is particularly harmful to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems; this virus does not discriminate on the grounds of race, age or sex. This virus has affected not only Australia but all of the continents in the world.
The second most talked about topic
The Australian Government COVIDSafe app. An app that speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). What does this app ultimately do? It helps the government support and protect us as individuals, it supports our friends and our families. In short, its designed to help flatten the curve and save lives.
Who’s protecting our data?
Should we be worried about how our personal data is handled by the government? It’s definitely got Australia talking and like anything, theirs a debate brewing and we think, it’s a debate worth having.
It’s your decision to download this app (this is non-compulsory), we are told the data entered into this app will only go and be seen by the health authorities and we need to believe this. This isn’t data for data sake, its data to help protect our health and our health system; this virus has crippled the world as well as edging us towards a global recession.
Planted Life downloaded the app the moment it became available. We weighed up the known pro’s and con’s and recognised, if we are aiming get back to some sort of ‘normality’ and financial health we need to do all we can to get there, and for us, this app is part of that solution.
Why our data is worth sharing
It’s been over 2 months since the drastic restrictions first took effect, shutdowns that I have not seen in my lifetime. COVID-19 has left many businesses struggling to survive due to the compulsory shut down; from pubs, clubs and restaurants, retail and recreation precincts, to public transport and airlines, no one has been left untouched when it comes to this world health pandemic.
This pandemic is loosening its grip slightly on society; we are seeing the number of cases drop however this does not mean we can ‘carry on as normal’, we can be anything but complacent at this time.
We in Australia have been kind of lucky, we are a protected island and we acted quick in the early days to help stop the spread but we need to continue to do what we can to keep it this way, to keep Australia beautiful, beautifully protected.
Your data is out there
There is no such thing as ‘free’. You download a ‘free’ app but the reality of it is, you have to give that company something in return and what is that return? Your data, your personal information. You are giving away your data, your search history, your location, everything you use your phone for. Scary when you think of it like that isn’t it? You just add your name, birth date, suburb, email address and maybe a mobile number and there you have it, innocently you have provided some very useful information to somebody and that somebody will use this information (mainly for profit); your data will make up the statistics.
Your data trail
Like a foot print in the sand, whenever we use our phones to search a product, a place, pay for something, connect with somebody we are leaving a data trail behind. Worried about your privacy, well you should be. The reality of living a private life is greatly compromised the moment we invest in a smart phone. Everything from music streaming and weather apps, through to news and storage apps are collecting your data.
Did you know on your smart phone you can prevent an advertiser from getting useful statistics including your search data history? Have you ever done a search on your phone and then moments later logged into Facebook only to see an ad for that very item you were searching for? Weird hey? To stop this from regularly happening manually selecting and enabling the ‘limit ad tracking’ function on your phone can reduce the number of targeted ads you see; will you be free of adverting, no instead you will just see random adverts. Much better!
While you’re at it and on your phone, you may wish to turn off the location services for apps that you don’t want to be tracking your location. See no matter what we do, our phones are always with us and this being the case, we are always being tracked in some way or another.
Time to clean up
How any apps do you have on your phone that are not 100% essential? Is now the time to start the ‘delete’ process? Make a regular date in the diary to make this a habit, continue this on a regular basis in order to help protect your privacy. Not a bad idea one might say.
For starters go into your settings and see how many apps you do actually have on your phone. Now go into each one and see if you ‘allow access’ for your location when using? If so, your privacy is again compromised and you more than likely weren’t even aware of it.
Customer Reviews and your privacy
The terms and conditions include text about:
- You, the registered user
- User-generated content from registered users
- Personal data
- Limitation of liability
- Other user terms
- Term and termination
- Applicable law and venue
- Copyright dispute policy
It’s unfortunate that in order for small businesses to acquire information about how a consumer rates their product they need to invest in various companies that make handing over a data a confusing and alarming transaction. They say remember to read the small print but, in this case, may not, not if you don’t really care what happens to your data when you simply choose to ‘review a product.
Basically, downloading an app that may help save your life and those around you doesn’t seem so bad now doesn’t it? If anything, this app is the least of your problems when it comes to your privacy on your phone.
What can you do to help protect your privacy (just the tip of the iceberg) when using a smart phone and/or computer?
- Delete all social media apps such as Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp
- Stop purchasing online and giving over your address/phone number
- Purchase hard copies of books instead of downloading books to your Kindle
- Opt out to sign up to all loyalty cards from retailers
To read more about how this app works, how your data is used and stored and what happens to your data when this pandemic is over visit here. We promise you this information is clear, easy and won’t take you a lifetime to read.
To download the COVIDSafe app click here.
Courage to let this change the world as we know it
We need to be brave enough to choose a new path and with this, it involves how and who we choose to share our data with. Over the past few months we have been forced to reassess our values, we were out of control prior to this pandemic and the speed in which we were travelling was not sustainable. COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to change and we must be brave enough to grab it with both hands and enter into a new world.
Are you brave enough?