How many internet-connected devices do you have in your home? Do some of them have cameras?

How many different computers, phones, and smart devices can track your location?

Which social media websites have recorded your personal information? How many of your followers know where you are at every hour of the day, thanks to status updates and “check-ins?”

While you may not proceed through a normal day thinking about questions like these, you can’t ignore concerning issues. We live in a world where access is idolized at the expense of privacy and, whether you realize it or not, the decisions you make now could impact the rest of your life.

Why Privacy Matters

When there’s a conversation about privacy, there’s inevitably going to be a group of people who push back and claim they have nothing to hide. But what most people fail to realize is that privacy isn’t about hiding illegal activity – it’s simply about maintaining personal space.

Even if you don’t have anything illegal or embarrassing to hide, privacy still has value. Why else do you lock your front door, pull the curtains at night, put a passcode on your phone, and use a complicated password to access your online banking information? It’s because, somewhere deep inside of you, there’s a desire to separate your private realm from the public realm that exists everywhere outside.

There’s also something about being watched that changes your behavior. As privacy expert Glenn Greenwald said in his TED Talk, “Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle, though much more effective, means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, and is much more effective than brute force could ever be.”

So, privacy matters for two reasons. First off, it keeps you safe and allows you to avoid sharing certain information with people who you don’t want to have access. Secondly, it allows you to act independently of outside influence or coercion. In other words, privacy makes room for personal freedom.

3 Ways to Enhance Your Privacy

While most areas of our lives have enjoyed marked improvement over the past few decades, privacy is one issue that has actually experienced regression. Our lives are far less private than they were even 20 years ago. Is it possible to regain some sense of confidentiality in our ultra-connected world? The answer is yes, but you must be willing to do the following:

1. Don’t Assume Privacy

Never assume that a device, service, or piece of technology is secure. While everything may seem fine on the surface, Zoomdata explains that the rapid growth of the internet of things (IoT) actually has security professionals scrambling. The manufacturers of these devices – which range from electric toothbrushes to webcams – often don’t have the experience or infrastructure to deal with security threats, which makes consumers vulnerable to data theft.

As a rule of thumb, you should never assume privacy. Always look at new technology and solutions with skepticism. Read privacy policies, add extra layers of security, and be vigilant of any changes.

2. Think Before You Post

Social media affords our society many benefits, but it’s terrible for privacy. While platforms like Facebook are going to gather information on you regardless of what you do, there are ways to limit how much these networks (and your followers) know about you.

The biggest piece of advice is to think before you post. By assuming that everything you post will permanently live on the internet, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

3. Stay Current

Finally, make sure you’re staying up to date on the latest trends and developments. Knowing which cyber security threats and risks are rampant will help you avoid things like phishing scams. Occasionally visiting a site like will provide you with the information you need.

Take a Step Back

In order to regain some semblance of privacy in your life, you must be willing to take a step back and set up safeguards and filters that limit external access to your private realm. More importantly, you must shift your mindset and understand that privacy is good, even when there’s nothing bad to hide.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.