We can all be more careful, less willing to give a phone #, a credit card #, less willing to share our email address, our physical address, our name, our point of view.
We aren’t changing because the world of big data is here; rather, big data arrived a long time ago. It’s thriving because it has proven to itself that our choices matter more to the e-commerce world that does respecting our privacy.
Remember punch cards?
Sixties, seventies too – snail-mail cards we’d sign or enter day on (holes called CHADs), and somewhere it said: DO NOT FOLD, SPINDLE or MUTILATE – so began our willing compliance.
We ‘click here’, accepting user agreements – ‘well-lawyered sentences’ authorizing capture, re-use or re-sale. Little bits and bytes of our lives.
Everyday news, supposedly impregnable databases, compromised. Data stolen, strangers (spies/foreign governments too), crooks and corporate marketers gaining unauthorized access to our data. Facebook – latest to admit publicly the depth to which their/our data was compromised.
They weren’t hacked. They freely gave, still do, give access to big data companies, who mine our data to give advertisers – and Facebook – clues to our vulnerabilities and receptiveness to products and services, our demographics, our online habits mapped, and that map sold over and over in exchange for ‘free use’ of their platforms.
Their business models ain’t changing anytime soon.
Naïve to believe Facebook are alone, just the biggest latest largest exposition.
Is there a solution?
It isn’t ‘go offline’.
First, accept ALL your information will be inappropriately shared, mined and stolen. And used to help others make a buck, or steal yours. Not ‘low probability’ – a certainty. Yes, we could/should be more careful about what we surrender online.
We aren’t the only ones in control of our data – governments, employers, banks, credit cards, online merchants – everyone you do business with. Your phone service provider, daily newspaper providers, dry-cleaner, gas company, power company, municipality, electric company, corner store/gas bar + anyone who works there, anyone who hacks into their system. And anyone who, for a fee, rents the access. In many cases, they get that access for free provided they give the analysis back to Facebook et al.
Most of these players have only ‘some of our data, but collectively, they have it ALL!
Privacy we once knew is extinct.
Does accepting this reality change us?
The only variable is who/how many of us still believe that privacy exists.
Some still believe they can do something about it.
Ask, are my choices my choices? Or, am I manipulated by algorithms, big data and artificial intelligence?
Of course you are, we all are.
P.S.: many years ago a client who told me – each time a store taking her credit card ALSO ASKED for her phone number, she always gave a number she made up on the spot. I’ve always liked that story.
Good morning Mark. Yes - habits do define our future and choices define our habits. I differ with values defining our choices as I believe it is our beliefs about ourselves and what we believe we can accomplish or what we deserve that define our actions. Our values come into play in how we perform those actions. If I don't believe it is possible, I will not take action. Would love to hear your thoughts, EM, Calgary, AB