Categories: Opinion

Mehreen Farhan

I love gadgets and that is an understatement.

I can have the latest phone in my hands and still go giddy watching an advertisements of smartphones sleek and shiny, this and that, the works. The bling.

After using almost all famous smartphone brands in the market, I settled for the much coveted smartphone brand, Banana.

A little background on Banana. Banana is a leading tech giant, known for its aethetically pleasing hardware and a cult-like loyal following. Once a Banana-fan, always a Banana-fan, provided you can see past the apparent beauty. Like I did. The minute I held my first iBanana, I was in love with it and since then, there was no looking back.

Step 1: Growing my data

Year by year, my data volume grew. Banana promised me an easy way to carry my data around with my in my pocket all the time. Gone were the days when I had to waste time transferring data in my laptop or hard drive. Pictures and videos got heavier and better. They became bigger in number too. And so did my desire to hold on to them.

Why? Because when there are so many data memory sizes available now, why go back? Which brings me to step 2…

Step 2: Take it everywhere… yes, your data!

Phone after phone after phone. Banana improved its phone transfer apps and added ways to keep taking data from one iBanana to another effortlessly. This was awesome because now I could successfully keep all the useless data I didn’t need back from 2014. It didn’t matter that I never missed it in all the years I paid Banana for bigger storage. One must plan ahead, yeah.

What I didn’t realize was, how this baseless urge to hoard data with me was actually filling Banana’s pockets with increased sales of storage subscriptions and bigger devices.

Argument 1: My data was important… but for whom?

Big giants and bigger businesses thrive on our day to day data. Let alone data that dates back years and years. I am frightened by the amount of insight I am giving them about my personal life. If I tell you that they probably know more about me than even I do, trust me it wouldn’t be wrong.

My Google search was first used across all Google platforms. But then, there came an eerie thought as I sensed Facebook showing me advertisements about stuff I have never searched for. There have been instances where a thought was randomly thrown in a private face-to-face conversation with a friend, and I was shown suggestions on my social media on how to buy/implement/avail that service.

Probably our phone calls are tapped and probably our laptop cams are used as surveillance devices. Wait. This reminds me of that photograph of Mark Zuckerberg that went viral over the Internet with him posing for the lens while his laptop in the background had the camera lens taped.

This caused a lot of debate among the masses as to the level of intrusion and privacy threats posed by these well-meaning websites who claim to work night and day to “bridge gaps”, “connect the world” and “help people find meaningful networks”.

These social media services and websites that have no doubt helped us network and market ourselves and our own ventures actually have a staggering amount of inside information about us. And who would know better than the person who actually was a pioneer in building Facebook?

Argument 2: My shiny new smartphone is a Trojan horse. Or is it?

My very beautiful, sleek and attractive handheld smartphone is actually playing tricks on me. Like I said, I go giddy watching all those shiny beauties. In 2021, I feel practically incapable of being without a phone. While I’m probably constantly being tracked with this device, it also connects me to the world.

The choice is now mine.

When I talk about all the big tech giants, including Banana, using my data for their motives, I forget that I also benefit from the same system. While it’s very easy to point fingers at a very mindful Zuckerberg, I forget that I have made my small home business work using something he built. When I crib about having to pay for that bigger cloud subscription or more expensive smartphone, I forget that it was my choice to go that route.

Wait. I assure you this is way more complicated than the simple examples I have chosen.

We still need to go a long way in finding the balance when it comes to decisions like what data, no, read ‘memories’ to let go and which ones to keep. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

While I put this out here, for you to rip my opinion apart, I do not endorse tech industry to use my data without my consent. But these companies do have a point when we ourselves scroll down their Terms and Conditions notices without reading.

And so, this brings me to my closing statement.

The data dilemma is real. As long as we continue to exist on the IT-sphere of the world, we continue to constantly add to their data banks. The digital footprint is very real. Today I can trace my posts from eons ago, yet, young parents today make social media accounts for their toddlers without a second thought.

We will continue to be traced, recorded and what not. But what’s the trade-off? You decide.

[adinserter block="1"]

Editor's Pick