Playing Mind Games in the Fight for Online Privacy

Regulation is great, but the road to protected online privacy starts in our minds

Gal Ringel
Modus
Published in
5 min readOct 14, 2019

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Photo: Qi Yang/Getty Images

WWhen the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced a year ago, it was seen as the biggest promise yet in online privacy. Internet users in the EU and beyond expected to find a level playing field in which they would regain control over their personal data and how it is being used online.

Not long after the law took effect, the high expectations of GDPR faced reality, with surveys suggesting that users find it mainly frustrating, as they end up with a tsunami of privacy policy spam, cookie-consent pop-ups, and long, tedious legal text. Instead of enjoying newly found control and peace of mind, many felt more harassed and blindsided than ever.

There’s very little doubt regarding the need for privacy protection and the regulation to define and enforce it. Clear boundaries must be set. But the process of changing how online privacy is approached cannot be one-sided. Privacy protection plans should be created for the people and adopted by the people. Just as we must invest resources in forming regulation and following its implementation closely, great efforts should be made regarding how individuals perceive this issue, while addressing specific obstacles that prevent us all from tackling this problem in our everyday lives. The road to a public solution goes through a series of personal mind games to acknowledge and win. Here are three mental obstacles to overcome on our path to creating a safer worldwide web.

1. Now you see me, now you don’t

In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg shared a Facebook post with the intention of promoting Instagram, and instead promoted the idea of taping over one’s webcam and microphone. A couple of years later, during Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing following the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, the CEO struggled to explain basic notions regarding Facebook’s advertising procedures and privacy policy. These examples show the difference between the tangible idea of privacy, which is easy to understand and discuss, and abstract concepts we can’t quite grasp.

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Gal Ringel
Modus
Writer for

CEO and co-founder at Mine (https://www.saymine.com). A technology geek, an entrepreneur by heart and an ex-VC investor. Forbes 30 under 30.