It has been referred to as a “breach” and misuse of private information. It has been the buzz of social media and it may have long-lasting impact, particularly in the United States. We are talking about Cambridge Analytica’s use of information it retrieved from Facebook and Facebook users. This data was apparently used to target political ads to influence the American election.

Before we get too far into the weeds on the subject, it should be noted that the purpose of all political advertising is to influence voters. This should surprise no one. It should also be noted that this information was gathered within Facebook’s own guidelines. If there was a breach, it was, in fact, the “breach of trust” Mark Zuckerberg referred to in the interviews he gave following the news. People trusted Facebook with their information. That being said, Zuckerberg made his fortune gathering information from users and selling his “audience” to companies wanting to target certain groups and individuals. Internet privacy is to a great degree, an illusion. We’ve all had that startling experience of searching for a topic or service and all of a sudden we are seeing ads for that product on our social media. Where did we think this information was coming from?  We were, and are, providing this wealth of data ourselves, and doing so willingly.

The Evolution of “Mailing Lists”

In pre-internet days, magazine companies would sell their subscriber lists to companies who saw value in targeting people interested in the content of a particular magazine. Just by having your name and address, and knowing the types of magazines you subscribed to, marketers could do a surprisingly effective job of reaching target audiences for decades. As time progressed, people became a little more comfortable filling out paper surveys and polls,  giving their opinions and more private information. They were often rewarded with an entry to win a prize in a drawing or by getting a free sample.  Soon, digital loyalty cards began stockpiling data on consumers with the promise of saving 25 cents on a box of detergent or a package of frozen peas. The internet and social media then really opened the floodgates.

Privacy, the Internet, and Social Media

You have read every page of every term of use you have agreed to on the internet, correct? We didn’t think so.

Software companies, gaming sites, social media platforms, search engines, and others have become adept at concealing their intended use of your personal data in extensive terms of use forms. Some of the very websites that have been critical of Facebook are participating in the same consumer data gathering strategies Facebook uses. While they will often say these terms of use protect consumers from misuse, it actually protects them. It demonstrates users have granted them permission to use this personal data for their own purposes.

What social media added to data gathering is the ability to connect friends and family. In the case of the Cambridge Analytica situation, not only was information gathered about users who volunteered it, but additional data was gathered from those who were connected to those users. The very platforms promising to “connect us” are connecting us with those who want to influence our product and services choices and even our political opinions.  The more information gathered, the better we could be targeted and we’ve been freely giving it up in droves.

Smartphones, GPS, Apps, and Siri

There are those who believe that deleting their social media accounts will help protect them. While it may slow down the train, it has already left the station. Search engines know what you are looking at and the subjects of interest to you. GPS devices know where you are and can even predict where you are going. Smartphones know more about you than your spouse. Then we invite digital assistants like Siri and Alexa into our homes to gather information audibly. We do it so willingly, in the name of convenience, or to have access to discounts or “loyalty points”.

Why are so many apps free? Because the value of the data being gathered far exceeds any monetary gain these companies could otherwise realize. The real eye-opener is when these activities are combined from various vendors it creates an even more complete dossier of your searches, purchasing and travel habits, and relationships. We won’t even get into facial recognition and fingerprinting data that is a increasing part of our everyday activities.

Nobody is suggesting that going back to flip phones is the answer. At least not yet. But we can benefit from knowing how we are making our personal data so available. We can minimize access to our info by choosing providers who have no or little interest in acquiring personal data. You can make the move to an eco web hosting solution provider that is more interested in the providing superior customer service than gathering your information. We invite you to learn more about

The Privacy Benefits of Using

Look, we’ll be honest. We have absolutely no interest in your private information. If you are looking for anonymous web hosting, we are your provider. We make our money from building a worldwide base of website hosting customers who want a 99.9% uptime, anonymous sign-up, and no government interference. Customers appreciate our willingness to accept payment by Bitcoin, cash by mail, PayPal, and wire transfer. We are based in Iceland, an Internet-friendly country with internet and freedom of speech regulations. We also happen to have a stable government and an excellent digital infrastructure. We offer 24/7 technical support.

We view ourselves as a landlord, offering our worldwide customers rental space on our servers. We want to make sure you are comfortable and if you have an issue, we are accessible. As long as we have a valid email address to contact you and a way to receive timely payments, the rest is up to you. If you are becoming more conscious of your personal data and how providers may be using it to compromise you, choose Secure. anonymous, and guaranteed.