In today’s world of increasing dependence on technology, we find that our lives are revolving more and more around the Internet, mobile phones, snapping selfies, doing duck faces, and watching videos of cats.

But this bubble that we live in does not always prove to be the safest space. That we have access to terabytes of information through the click of a mouse or touch of a screen is great. But it also means that others have that same power, too.

There has been a recent buzz in the media revolving around the leaking of several nude photos of A-List celebrities onto the Internet, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Victoria Justice. The photos were allegedly hacked from the celebrities’ Cloud accounts before being shared on 4Chan.

Of course, many people were outraged, and rightly so. Although Apple claims that hackers specifically targeted celebrity accounts, and that the iCloud accounts were not actually tampered with, it still begs the questions: how safe is our personal information, really? And who is to blame for violations such as these?

Although I would argue that it isn’t the smartest idea to have questionable photos on your phone, especially when linked to an online account, it certainly does not justify these immense privacy violations.

However, I concede that we do a great deal of this damage to ourselves. Whenever we sign up for a new app, service, or site, we are presented with a user agreement. You know—the one that asks if you’ve read and agree to the conditions and you lie and check “yes” anyway? We’ve become so caught up in the tech world that the idea of going without these services is almost barbaric. And yet we don’t think about the consequences.

An example of this would be the current anger over Facebook’s messenger app, and its alleged ability to access all of the information on your phone, at any time, and allows Facebook to use it as they wish. This has caused such uproar that Facebook has released statements within the site in an attempt to allay user fears and dispel the myths.

In this day and age people can screenshot Snapchats, participate in video calls, and send “fun” pics with just a few taps on a screen. Social media
makes it easy for strangers to look up and learn a great deal about someone without ever having to actually meet them. Location services allow people to “check in” on social media and show their friends exactly where they got that cuppa Fro-Yo, or their exact location when they snapped that planking pic.

By continuing to use these services, we are, in effect, giving away a portion of our rights.

Of course, no one finds the idea of privacy violations appealing. After all, we Americans greatly appreciate and demand privacy in our day-to-day lives, and having that taken away from us is tough to deal with.

We need to realize that there is a price to pay for continuous entertainment and status updates on your friend’s Chihuahua. However, it is important to also keep in mind that there are ways to help reduce the potential damage, and keep the majority of your information safe.

And please stop with the duck faces. Looking like the representative for Aflac Insurance is not all it’s quacked up to be.

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