Innovation can create new problems, and often even new industries. Two and half millennia after the invention of the wheel, we have traffic jams–made possible by the auto industry and Big Oil. That’s two industries right there. Fast food and high fructose corn syrup caused worldwide obesity, and gave rise to factory farming as well as the diet industry. (That’s two more!)
More recently, privacy has been a recurring issue when it comes to innovation, but it was a problem pre-Internet, as well.
Credit cards opened the door to overspending and account takeover as well as a host of privacy concerns around who gets to know your spending and bill-paying habits. Then there’s EZPass and FasTrak. Who doesn’t love automated toll roads? (Hint: People who don’t like being tracked.) The list is potentially endless, but no innovation has given rise to as many industries in the last fifty years than the Internet.
(Yep, the Internet is eligible to join the AARP this year!)
User privacy is an essential part of keeping your data and identity safe online; it’s something we talk about regularly on our podcast “What the Hack with Adam Levin.”
It’s no easy task to identify the 10 biggest Internet-related privacy failures masquerading as the next best thing since the World Wide Web, but here it goes.
8. Online quizzes
What color is your aura? Which Disney princess are you? How well would you do if you were “playing” Squid Game? What kind of pastry would you be if you lived in Iceland?
Online quizzes seem like a fairly anodyne distraction. No doubt they can be fun so long as you don’t take the results too seriously. (After all, only some of us can be smarter than Einstein.) So what could possibly be wrong with a stupid online quiz?
Investing a few minutes of your time during a coffee break to confirm your suspicions about which house the Sorting Hat would choose for you in a Harry Potter novel shouldn’t cause any real compromise, but it does.
By providing a thousand little details about your likes, dislikes, inclinations, emotional states, background and intelligence level, you’re helping quiz sites assemble a more nuanced mosaic of who you are — the sort of information that data companies use to target ads. When you share the link to the quiz with a friend, you’re explicitly letting them know more details about your social circle. You may even be giving away answers to security questions on your accounts.
If you want to know what breed you would be if you were a dog, just go to your local animal rescue and ask them. But bring a leash, because they’ll try to get you to adopt it.