In honor of Data Privacy Day, here is the latest rant…
Today is #DataPrivacyDay2020 – The advancement of technology and the ability to use your data to create personalized experiences that create less friction in your life is absolutely incredible. I am blown away on a daily basis by tech founders I know and the leaps in technological advancement they are making. The future is looking so incredible with what today’s creators are building for the world of tomorrow. But with all of these advancements and inventions, a little piece of you is stored in every database you touch in your day… and that’s A LOT.
Here is what I hear most people say when I discuss data privacy: “The data is only used to serve you ads. Okay, big whoop. “
Now, today, that might not be a big deal. But what about in the future?
What about when it’s no longer ads that are being served to you, but when companies are able to use your data to make preconceived notions about you and make determinations about what should happen to you, your loved ones and your well-being.
For example, Your health insurance provider is able to review your search history and know that you have been diving into lung cancer research lately on Google. Then, they go and look at your financial data and see that you’ve been buying 4 packs of cigarettes per week for one year straight. Then, they go and review data from your home IoT devices and monitor your living conditions, your heart top-level health indicators (from your wearables), and use AI to sift through conversation recordings from your voice-activated devices (such as Alexa) that you have throughout your home to listen for keywords in conversations you’ve had in your home. Keywords like, “I feel sick,” and “Man, I had 10 cigarettes today.” Next thing you know, your insurance rates are going up because your insurance provider has determined based on your big-data behavior that you are a high-risk individual for them even though you haven’t seen a doctor yet and have even been diagnosed with an illness.
What will you do then? What will you do when the government decides to monitor your every move and use that to police the Country? Do you want to live in a policed state of that magnitude? Where an illusion of safety is upheld in exchange for a complete lack of privacy in any fashion?
Don’t worry (sarcasm) – your complete behavioral and predictable behavior is already out there.
Google, for example, knows where you are, what you say, what you search, what you watch, what you buy, what your habits are and more. How? Well, they are tracking you on Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Android Phones, Google Docs, YouTube and tracking pixels put on roughly 75% of all websites on the web.
Hell, what about using social media apps like TikTok? Yes, yes, I hear it’s a lot of fun.
But did you know that TikTok is a Chinese built and maintained product and that the Chinese equivalent of the CIA has an office inside of TikTok headquarters? Did you also know that with that app, your phone camera and microphone can be activated at any time unless you specify otherwise? Do you want a foreign entity able to monitor your behavior patters and potentially be able to watch and listen to you at any given time?
You might not care about these risks now, but when it starts affecting your life in a very real way, you’ll wish you went back and did things a little differently. I mean, come on, even the US is asking Apple to give them a “backdoor” to iPhones to that the CIA and FBI can open any iPhone device of any user at any time.
Do you really want that?
Now listen, I’m not saying to be all paranoid and go completely digitally dark. Fuck that. That sounds horrible.
What I am saying is to be aware that these things are real.
If we don’t pay attention to these topics and these companies who have unlimited access to your daily life and data, who will? On Data Privacy day, all I’m saying is BE AWARE. Yes, compromises will always be made – a lack of privacy in exchange for easy times. But there needs to be rules and regulations put forth for the future about what happens to our data, where it is stored, what it can be used for, and when do things turn from legal and helpful to illegal and a burden?
CCPA and GDRP is a good step, but not the right one nor the final one.
Okay, I’ll end my rant there.