It’s all about your DATA: Exposed

We live in a world where Data is considered one of the most crucial components of any business.

We talk about Privacy, but we carelessly offer our private and personal information to someone who is completely unknown to us.

Today we are going to understand how our data ”Your Personal Data” is utilized on the internet and How it can be exploited.

Well, It’s no secret to anyone that the global tech giants monitor record our every online action your every post liked, every article shared, Ad clicked and video watching is used to build detailed profiles. Then it is sold to advertisers, individuals, businesses, etc which are used for advertisement or marketing.

We all know nothing is hidden on the internet, the point is that the internet + privacy is hard to visualize, the collected data ‘can be’ and ‘ is ‘ used as a commodity with or without your consent. The data here we’re referring to is sensitive data like your health records, bank details social security number, etc can be scooped up later by all kinds of companies.

The device you hold 24/7 in the form of a smartphone says a lot about you. but do we understand the risk that comes along with it?

Well, we are in the midst of a pandemic, where the whole country lived under lockdown, People lost their lives, their jobs, businesses are on the verge of going bankrupt and the rise of debt that is being built up will take years to pay off.

When the whole world was halted we witnessed the sharp drift in a digital trajectory that stepped in to fill those gaps left by the new mandate called Social distancing a very unfamiliar word for all of us.

Several businesses embraced digitization solutions, to cope with the current crisis and to keep their business up and running as these companies had no choice left but to redirect their businesses fully to virtual space to avoid revenue losses, and so we have seen an outstanding tech innovation created out of necessity.

We have also noticed some distinctive trends such as working from home, E-learning, online shopping, virtual doctor, the rise of Cryptocurrency, NFT, Web3.0 decentralization OTT, and many more, etc.

This Pandemic has fast-tracked digital adaptation into our daily lives, it may seem like a trivial change for some but many of us have become accustomed to virtual life like scanning QR codes, ordering food online, making contactless payments, Remote working, or setting up virtual meetings, etc

As I said earlier every aspect of our lives today is observed, analyzed, and profiled be it a part of the security program or the for-profit of big companies.

According to the Statista report, the number of internet users worldwide stood at 4.66 billion, which means that more than half of the global population is currently connected to the World Wide Web.  Of this total, 92.6 percent accessed the internet via mobile devices.

So imagine for all those years, we have been on the internet and the amount of data collected by these companies will be enormous Right !, the amount of interaction we do with our smartphones on a day-to-day basis right from locating a fine dining restaurant OR to book a doctor appointment everything with just a tap or click on your smartphones.

This oversized data can generate a detailed profile that is not only used to determine what products we may want to buy but also, more chillingly, to guess our political preferences, our opinions, attitudes and beliefs, and even our innermost dreams and fears.

But we’ve been doing this for almost decades now so what’s new this time? and what could possibly go wrong?

Do you even realize people give out their information willingly without realizing that this data can be extracted and sold to a third party, for example, let’s say there is a new app that helps me save more money by tracking daily expenditure, notify me when I am going over budget, remind me to repay my credit card bill on time plus reward me with exciting coupons, whenever I do the payment before due and all this is absolutely in no cost! So why is all of a sudden company getting so generous ‘WHAT’S THE CATCH HERE’ Now understand it from a Venture capitalist (VC) or company’s point of view?

So since the app holds all my financial records “THEY” can assess what level of income I am at, how much debt I owe, sooner or later some banks or loan sharks will approach me to take an instant loan at a lucrative interest rate, etc there are many more examples on this looking at your frequent visits expenditure pattern to local fast-food chains, junk food subscription, and expired gym membership, a health insurance company can determine the unbalanced lifestyle might attract higher premium.

Do you know: Your saliva can be valuable DATA to pharma companies because it holds valuable information it can be extracted without your knowledge can be resold to any pharma company.

Who sells our Data and who are these people?

Welcome to the planet of data brokers the two hundred billion dollar industry based on selling your personal information to other companies right now.

The information data brokers collect may be inaccurate or out of date. Still, it can be beneficial to enterprises, marketers, investors, & individuals. 

Well, here we are talking about hundreds of companies out there you’ve probably never heard of them, are operating in the shadows with very few rules, gathering all your personal data without your knowledge.

but what if that data has got into the wrong hands or a company sold your information to an individual without knowing their real intentions what if an authoritative government took that information and use it against its own citizen.

After Edward Snowden’s revelations about surveillance programs, it is evident that govt also gathers data, as a security measure but to what extent.

We are essentially free to do anything we chose except where our actions are prohibited by law. What if in near future will be allowed to do the things that you have been given direct permission to do.

What if tomorrow you’ll be rated on every aspect of your life, Can I go to this restaurant or this sporting event? Can I get on this bus, this plane, train or in this taxi? Can I go into this shop how many times did you inadvertently violate the law or the traffic rule etc such, day-to-day activities will be permitted on a rating basis Points counted for good behavior and negative for not following the laws formulated by the government or corporation? Maybe this mechanism will automatically discipline those who do not follow the prescribed norms.

We will be, forever, at the mercy of those who keep score, those who set the rules, those who decide if we are deserving of a 5-star rating or Zero star. This does sound extreme sounds like one of the Black Mirror episodes right? But In China, people can’t even board a train if their score falls below a certain threshold.

Few are able to sense the imminence of the risk but on a brighter note, these data could also be helpful to track down lawbreakers, with A. I and right algorithm we can identify a risk factor we can foresee epidemics treat diseases, can build a better future, and improve treatments, businesses can improve their service or the quality of the products that they present to you.

We not asking you to throw away smartphones it has actually made our lives easier than before. All we are asking is to stop giving those data away. The more educated you can become on these issues the closer you can become to finding the right solution.