There is a downside to the abundant presence of data in today’s society.
Today’s tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tencent and Alibaba have long recognised that data is a valuable asset. They have been aggregating vast amounts of data in return for ‘free’ services from the outset.
The problem with ‘free’ services is that you and your data are the actual product. This has resulted in a centralised web and a handful of organisations dominating and controlling it. This has caused problems with truth and trust — such as fake news, clickbait, trolling, spam, absence of accountability and above all lack of privacy.
These centralised internet corporations are incredibly powerful. They have access to vast amounts of data of their users, which they use and abuse to follow (potential) customers around the web. These organisations often ignore existing privacy practices. They use the data to their liking, often without properly involving or informing the consumer, as became once again clear last week with Google workers secretly listening to recordings on the Google Home.
Who Can Protect Your Privacy?
Fortunately, in recent years, media attention to these problems has grown. Consequently, consumers have become more aware of the consequences of data that is in the hands of technology companies. Increasingly, they demand change or take action themselves. Consumers start to see privacy once again as an important good that they want to protect. But how can you protect your privacy in a society where data is everywhere?
To understand how you can protect your privacy, it is important to know the three different groups that affect your privacy:
- Yourself a.k.a. the consumers that create vast amounts of data via a plethora of devices, websites, networks;
- Organisations and governments a.k.a. the collectors and users that collect all the data that is created within their organisation or government and use it to gain new insights for themselves or others (the data markets);
- Government organisations, the court or consumer organisation a.k.a. the regulators that are trying to develop a policy regarding commercial use of…