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If Our Grandparents Had Our Data Privacy Habits

June 23, 2015

Whether you’re a baby boomer or one of the much-fabled generation we call millennials, the world looks a lot different now than it did when your grandma and grandpa were sock-hopping their way into each other’s hearts.

And while our grandparents may remember with great fondness a simpler time, when the kids would play outside until sunset and your entire neighborhood left their doors unlocked, we think some of our older relatives would be appalled if they knew our current data privacy habits. This is what your grandparents would have done, if they were as cavalier about their data privacy back in the day:

1. They’d post their daily itineraries on the supermarket bulletin board.

A throwback from yesteryear, supermarket bulletin boards are still a fantastic way to find someone to shovel your driveway or teach little Johnny how to play the piano. But the way we share everything now, even our most mundane hobbies and tasks, we can just see what the supermarket board would look like if your grandparents shared your data privacy habits:

“Call 555-123-4567 for a page-by-page review of my favorite new romance novel, 120 characters at a time!”

There would also be endless photographs and recipes of whatever your grandparents and their peers were cooking that week, misattributed Marilyn Monroe quotes and Frank Sinatra lyrics pertaining to whatever vague emotional drama they were going through.

In the 21st century, we broadcast our lives, habits and emotions for all to see. Not just our social media friends, but their friends, too. The idea of personal privacy, let alone data privacy, now seems like a novelty, a relic from a bygone era.

2. Leave signs saying, “Won’t be home for days!” on their door, as well as detailed instructions on where to find them.

Who needs privacy when you can literally broadcast your coordinates to the general public? Every time you check in at a local burger joint, doctor’s office or concert, everyone from your boss to the burglars planning to break into your house can see where you are.

3. Make their locker combinations “1 2 3 4.”

The most popular passwords are so easy to crack, even your grandparents can hack into your email account with their eyes closed. There are pickle jars in your Nana’s fridge that are more difficult to gain access to than an email account with the password “baseball.” Guarding your data with a weak password is like burying your prized jewelry in the backyard, rather than putting it in a safe deposit box. Anyone with a shovel and a little patience can steal your stuff.

4. Take pictures of themselves drinking and partying, then leave them in the office photocopier.

Your Facebook pictures can come back to haunt you, as anyone who has been fired due to unwise social media use can attest. It’s good your grandpop kept his photos in a box in the attic.

5. Sending open envelopes through snail mail.

How much do you trust the good ol’ United States Postal System? Try sending snail mail — whether it’s a love letter or a fat check — through the mail with the envelope wide open. It sounds insane, but if your grandparents’ data privacy habits were like yours, that’s something we could see them doing. Using email encryption can be as simple as licking an envelope to seal it, and yet, not everyone is taking this simple step to protect their digital privacy.

Make Your Grandparents Proud: Use Virtru Email Encryption

The stereotype of young people is that they don’t care about data privacy. After all, Mark Zuckerberg did proclaim once that “privacy is no longer a social norm.” But it isn’t that people don’t care about privacy, but that the technology we use every day to connect to the world around us doesn’t make privacy easy or convenient.

Virtru changes all that — for your inbox, at least. Simply by downloading a free browser add-on, you can protect your email and data privacy using email encryption, all with the flick of a switch. Whether you’re concerned about hackers, surveillance or simply your email falling into the wrong hands, Virtru has your back. To see how easily you can protect your inbox, download Virtru for free today.

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