If there is something that humans value the most, it is their right to privacy. No matter what job they have, how much money they make, or how much of a social butterfly they might be – people enjoy being able to swaddle back into their personal cocoon and just exist without being bothered.
While privacy was something that was found in excess in the childhood years of our parents, in today’s world privacy is actually quite hard to come by. Surveillance cameras silently record our every move in public spaces. Our phone’s microphones listen in to our conversations. Social media is now the main street where people openly shame and expose others. Private messages, DMs, and texts are all victim to becoming public information just by someone screenshotting the conversation and “accidentally” distributing them to their followers.
Making Life Easier – Maybe?
Canva is a simplified graphic design application that uses templates and a drag-and-drop format to make it easy for a layperson to create social media images, graphics, publications, and logos. The tool was initially website-based, but in 2016, Canva rolled out its mobile app in an effort to capitalize on the market of mobile content creators who were blowing up on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. The goal of this tool was to make life simpler through the no-fuss graphic design process – but does it really save its users from headaches? Let’s look at what you need to give up in order to use Canva.
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
– Edward Snowden
When you use the Canva service, cookies are dropped onto your device so that they can track your visitation and action habits. These are all stored so that they can better serve up ads or suggestions for additional content to view or people to follow. While this is helpful in some instances, it means that you are being watched throughout your entire app transaction. In some cases, you are also being tracked in real life via location data. GPS and location functions on your phone could be automatically sent to the app if you do not turn that toggle off. Some applications like Google Maps or Waze require your location so that they can guide you to a real-life destination or report upon things like traffic or accidents that may impede your ability to get to a place on time. When you think about it, it’s really hard to make the connection why Canva would need access to your location data when the tool is for cloud-based graphic design. In the policy, it states it gathers this information to “offer you better service,” but I’m not buying that generic blanket statement.
“Plain English” or “Plain Wrong?”
“Plain English” or “plain language” is used by the United States government to ensure that the public can understand official communications. What plain language is NOT, is a bastardized, overtly-cheery, and selective translation of what is actually being said. From what I can tell from quickly scanning the policy, it is already written in plain language. While there is a disclaimer at the top saying the “plain English” summary doesn’t capture all of the terms – a lazy reader would just take those tidbits and miss all of the important meat within the policy.
I feel as though that Canva might want to pursue the idea of removing those side “plain English” sections or at least incorporate those as the first sentence or sub-head to each section in bold. This solution combines what they are trying to say in their snippets but encourages the viewer to complete reading the entire section. Having the left and right sides is a subliminal way to have people ignore the real information that is trying to be communicated.
Do you have any great tips about how to manage your personal information online? Share it in the comments below.