Gitanjali Diwakar

The not-so fool-proof cyber world

Gitanjali Diwakar | Updated on February 09, 2021

Can migrating to apparently safer platforms ensure a greater degree of privacy in the world of satellite communication, computers and programming? Read on

Not so long ago, Whatsapp's new privacy policy had created a lot of ‘halabaloo’ among the public. Social media portals, including LinkedIn, became platforms to express one’s concerns over their own safety.  

Ironic, don't you think? 

The term safety has been a jaded concept since the dawn of the internet. No surprises, indeed. I remember the whole Y2K episode that had the whole world on ‘caution’ mode.  

What many don't realise is that technology and communication have evolved beyond our own imagination. Even to me, a 90s kid, the developments are too rapid to adapt to. All I fancied was a ‘computer book’ that Inspector Gadget's niece – Penny –owned.  

We took pride in owning a web cam and chat rooms were our idea of building a larger set of friends. Mind you, none of those were entirely safe or monitored the way it is today.  

Would you believe it if I told you that the internet has also paved away for a world that is darker than the harshest realities of life? 

Thus, cybercrime is no stranger to those living in the 21st century. Some of us would have been victims of it too. 

The question is: Can migrating to apparently safer platforms ensure a greater degree of privacy in the world of satellite communication, computers and programming? 

Try this. Type your name on the search bar of Google Chrome. If you do see information related to you instantly, fear not. This exercise was only to remind you that your data is already available I the World Wide Web (WWW). 

A member of the Cyber Cell in Kerala's Ernakulam district explained a few true yet scary aspects of the World Wide Web (WWW). Most of often, we are unaware of how our data is stored, consumed or viewed on the web. In fact, the web has all the details pertaining to your date of birth, where you have been and more.  

It is a complex game that involves too many jurisdictions, infinite computer experts and a never-ending list of criminals. Unlike most crimes, cybercrimes are what one could call ‘intelligent foul play’. According to sources, this world has the potential to pave way for drug abuse, trafficking and other malicious activities. What is also unfortunate is that the crimes are assessed based on the laws of country where the company's servers have been stationed. “Certain issues, such as circulating provocative images of women are not considered as serious crimes in certain nations. This stems out of the cultural norms of those societies,” said the Ernakulam Cyber Cell member. 

So, how do technology companies make their mark in world of predictable ‘uncertainity’? Can any app be trusted or is it a problem that ceases to end? Fortunately for me, I had the chance to speak with Microsoft’s Keshav Dhakad. Not only was Dhakad honest about technology not being entirely fool-proof, he also emphasised on the trust factor that is associated with various cloud-technology products. 

 

Here's my take. Everything around us has certain pros and cons. Often, the cons are consequences of bad choices that one makes. Technology is no exception. When used wisely, it is the greatest gift of all. But if one chooses to be callous, it could be risky. Communication technology has truly brought the word closer. From having to wait long hours in queue for the 'trunk-call man’ to connect our calls, today, we can speak to anybody across the globe for a negligible sum of money. It is up to us educate ourselves and make wise calls in terms of the information we share in the cyber world. A few suggestions: 

  1. Try to remember your passwords - don’t write them down. Trust me – with automation taking the lead, your brain could use a few memory exercises. You could even use password managers (though, personally, I am weary of it). Or better so – opt for the OTP facility. This would be wiser
  2. Use application that are native to a country. This would make it slightly easier for the authorities to keep tab of the information being shared (then again, there are umpteen ways of bypassing firewalls) 
  3. Let confidential information remain confidential 
Published on February 09, 2021

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