My 13-year-old cousin is soon coming to Norway. This will be the first time he travels abroad alone, and he is super excited. The weeks prior to the trip were quite hectic, in terms of preparation, planning and as a result I’ve exchanged many emails with his parents. The last email I got though, was amazing and the reason why I’m writing this post. I asked for the flight confirmation, in order to know if there were any delays and so on. I was going to make a Google calendar appointment, so that a notification reminded me, as I waited for the email to arrive. However, Google did that before me. I stopped for a second in order to get my head around that and I felt a bit scared. However, should I?

Data makes your life easier

We live weird times. We’re more interconnected than ever before and carry an internet-enabled device with us at all times, yet the shared opinion is that data is controlled by all those evil corporations and that we have no privacy.

To a certain degree, I can understand that feeling, but why don’t we flip the coin? Why doesn’t anyone talk about how accessible and quick that data is? When Google created the appointment for me, I could focus my thoughts elsewhere because I know that information will be available when I need it. Isn’t that what we all want when automating processes?

As someone born in 1987, the Internet was not native to me and I had to get used to it. I consider it as another tool at my disposal and this one is quite the powerful one! So why not take advantage of it?

One of the claims of those against sharing data, tends to be that we’re observed and spied at all times and although it’s true that corporations have (and use) tons of our data, isn’t is also true of so many other elements in our lives? Doesn’t your bank know everything you spend money on and, by extension all the authorities that regulate banks? Why is it wrong for Google to check my email to give me relevant information when I need it and not for the Norwegian road authority to know where I’ve been driving using the toll road tag in my car? At least with Google, I can choose to share that information or not.

At least I can choose

Those who claim we no longer have any freedom, often overlook a major factor in all this: on the Internet, we get to choose what information we share. Unlike many other facets of our lives, what we show in our social media profiles, is strictly what we decide to show, nothing else. What the bearers of the digital apocalypse () never understand, is that the Internet is just another area of our lives and as such, we are in control of what we let others see.

So in this era of fear, I’ll keep asking “Hey Google, when is Arnau coming?”

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Thanks for reading!