The Cost of Privacy

It is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase any good or service without giving up your mobile phone number. Most of the stores that you go to now will ask for your phone number when the bill is made and they later spam you with promotions. There is always a look of incredulity in the cashier when I refuse to give out my phone number. At times, I have tried to explain that it is an invasion of my privacy and that I like to avoid spam notifications, but it is extremely difficult to get across that concept. It is far easier to either give a fake phone number or just state that one doesn’t have a phone.

The reason that the bill desk is genuinely surprised by the refusal to share one’s personal phone number is that not many people do it. I am in the minority. In exchange for your phone number, they promise to put you in a loyalty programme that promises discounts on future purchases. Most people are happy to make that trade-off: give up your privacy and data in exchange for discounts. I am definitely willing to forego any discounts or offers in order to retain my privacy. That foregone discount is the cost of privacy and peace of mind.


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