Big data. Big no!

30 October 2019  PRIVACY

Not so very long ago, privacy was still regarded as the right of the individual to be physically alone without being observed.
However, with the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of a burgeoning digital society, our lives have become increasingly less private and more accessible.

Most of our online searches, posts, shares, tweets, and pictures are not only seen by others but, potentially, can also be used against us. On top of this, there is a trend of bringing everything online (cameras, cars, microwaves, hospital journals), which generates a ton of data that is stored  online.

Sometimes data is stored without personal information. But if, at any point in time, an anonymous set of data becomes linked to an identified set of data (such as when you pay for a drink with your VISA card), all that data makes the user identifiable. This applies to information not only from the present, but also from the past as well as the future.

When it falls into wrong hands

It may seem innocent until you realize that your statistics are a commodity that can be sold to the highest bidder. And if, as a result, all that data ends up in the hands of a few big organizations, suddenly your insurance premiums go up and all your vulnerabilities are targeted for commercial reasons.  

There is also a governmental angle to this. Over time, think about the danger of putting this perfect information and classification tool in the hands of a future unknown power broker, and the main question becomes:

Can you trust every existing and future holder of information about you? Forever?

Data once collected can also be stolen, while its security is often neglected. And at this stage we can conclude that we are not ready for the data age. We are like children playing with loaded guns, while laws and governments lag way behind in putting legislation in place. You need to understand the business models of the apps you are using. If it’s free  you are the product. And if you’re a business owner: think twice before you begin collecting personal information. Don’t confuse data with product strategy.

Next step: Become a privacy ninja!

For the universal right to privacy,