|Abine's DeleteMe service. (SCREENSHOT)
Every day, you'll likely be handing out more than 700 items of personal data.
But a growing chorus of experts believe that, rather than giving in to the inevitable loss of privacy, it's becoming easier for consumers to control that information.
Sarah Downy is an attorney and analyst for the online privacy software company Abine, which offers a service called DeleteMe that erases data from a number of tracking sites. The company also markets a "do not track me" option. About three million users count on that.
"Most people don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes," she says of data kept about them, adding the constant risk of data breaches is causing many people to rethink their lapse in controlling that data.
Among those who believe privacy is still in the hands of users, and not a lost cause, Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian sees a push to embed privacy protection into new technology.
This "privacy by design" would be built into the software and devices we use.
But she believes consumers have to take control of what data they hand out, rather than fast-forwarding through the fine print on a new app to get to the rush of using it.
She sees the world on two tracks. Riding the first one are those, unaware of their own powers or technological answers, who say there's no hope in protecting privacy anymore. Riding the other, she explains, are a growing number of users, legislators and manufacturers who know where to find the brakes and control the course.
The worse thing we can do is believe privacy is a lost commodity, she warns.
"The bottom line is you have to be accountable and vigilant."