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(Six-minute read)

 

Is it time we started to demand that if you use my personal data it’ill cost you because I am worth it.

We all make a trade-off between security and convenience, but there is a crucial difference between security in the old-fashioned physical domain, and security today.

Security is done digitally with algorithms exploiting and analysing your very mood.

In this digital lifestyle, it is nearly impossible to take part in the web world without leaving a trail behind.

Personal privacy is dead.

How to Protect Yourself From Mobile Data Collection

 

We have no clear sight into this world, and we have few sound intuitions into what is safe and what is flimsy – let alone what is ethical and what is creepy.

We are left operating on blind, ignorant, misplaced trust; meanwhile, all around us, without our even noticing, choices are being made.

With the increasing ownership of mobiles, marketing companies now have unlimited access to our personal data. Every site one opens has an agreement form to be ticked with terms and conditions that are all but unreadable on small screens.

It’s not a choice between privacy or innovation, it is the erosion of legally ensured fundamental privacy rights interfacing with apps.

Nuggets of personal information that seem trivial, individually, can now be aggregated, indexed and processed.

When this happens, simple pieces of computer code can produce insights and intrusions that creep us out or even do us harm. But most of us haven’t noticed yet.

Since there’s no real remedy, giving away our most sensitive and valuable data, for free, to global giants, with completely uncertain future costs, is a decision of dramatic consequence.

iCloud and Google+ have your intimate photos; Transport companies know where your travelcard has been; Yahoo holds every email you’ve ever written and we trust these people to respect our privacy.

You only have to be sloppy once, for your privacy to be compromised.

With your Facebook profile linked, I could research your interests before approaching you.

Put in someone’s username from Twitter, or Flickr and Creepy will churn through every photo hosting service it knows, trying to find every picture they’ve ever posted.

Cameras – especially phone cameras – often store the location where the picture was taken in the picture data. Creepy grabs all this geolocation data and puts pins on a map for you.

Then comes an even bigger new horizon.

We are entering an age of wireless information. The information you didn’t know you were leaking.

Maybe the first time you used a new app.

Every device with Wi-Fi has a unique “MAC address”, which is broadcast constantly as long as wireless networking is switched on.

Many shops and shopping centres, for example, now use multiple Wi-Fi sensors, monitoring the strength of connections, to triangulate your position, and track how you walk around the shop. By matching the signal to the security video, they get to know what you look like. If you give an email address in order to use the free in-store Wi-Fi, they have that too.

Once aggregated, these individual fragments of information can be processed and combined, and the resulting data can give away more about our character than our intuitions are able to spot.

When I realised that I’m traced over much wider spaces from one part of town to another I asked myself what is the point in giving you information away when you could franchise it out and get something back in return.

Public debate on the topic remains severely stunted.

Through the current trends in the globalization of technology is in the knowledge society, we have to start asking where is the world moving to?

The concepts and applications of biocomputing, medical informatics, anthropocentric computing, high-performance computing, technological diffusion, predictive analysis tools, genetic algorithms, and cultural informatics all in new or little known fields of information technology.

Many organisations create, store, or purchase information that links individuals’ identities to other data. Those who can access and analyse this personal data profiles can take deep insights into an individual’s life.

A law-abiding citizen might say “I have nothing to conceal.” This is a misconception.

In any debate, negotiation or competitive situation, it is an advantage to know about the other party’s position in order to achieve one’s own desired outcome.

Data brokers – buy and combine data from various sources (online and offline) to deliver information on exactly defined target groups to their customers.

“Click-world” merchants know a lot more about their clients’ private and financial habits than the individual knows about the merchant company or its competitors.

You, therefore, could not be blamed for asking -given the increasing bargaining position of merchants, is the consumer still getting a good deal?

It would be interesting to know how good a deal consumers get when they exchange their data for free-of-charge online services.How to Protect Yourself From Mobile Data Collection

Data has become an economic good for which the “producer” is usually not remunerated.

Data privacy is a matter of choice and individuals should have the right to decide if a company can collect information on them.

Is there a solution:

Of course if you Google it what you will get will be all sorts of advice such as, avoid cookies, use the VPN or disabling the location tracking in your devices and use Browsers that don’t track your activities.

It’s tempting to just play ostrich and put our heads under the sand however data collection is affecting and will affect your life.

This is why we must preserve the right of individuals to know what kind of information is being collected and what is being done with that information.

You could say that the most valuable thing on your computer or network is the data you create. After all, that data is the reason for having the computer and network in the first place.

The first thing to understand is that there is very little that can “prove” that any company (whether an individual, government entity, corporation, etc.) is engaged in safe or adequate data handling processes.

Therefore :

We must retain the right to define our own privacy boundaries and then advocate for those boundaries before invasions in our daily lives become out of control and irreversible.

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.