By Gary Eastwood
The information age has delivered innumerable wonders to us and continues to churn out astonishing innovations on a daily basis. The only reason that contemporary society enjoys such awesome technology and progress these days is that we can gleam so much insight from our data, particularly when we combine disparate datasets together and comb through them with analytics technology. More and more often, we’re seeing corporations begin to exploit this process, seizing as much control as possible over the data of everyday people.
We should be seriously worried about corporate control of data, especially if we’re concerned about our individual privacy and human rights. Here’s why you should reconsider letting Apple, Microsoft, and other tech behemoths have free reign over your personal data.
Corporations are already spying on us
The predominate reason that we should be worrying about corporate control of data is that we already have indisputable evidence that today’s leading tech giants are spying on us everywhere we go. An investigation by the Associated Press found that Google is tracking your movementsconstantly, even and especially after you explicitly tell them not to. I’ve seen a lot of insidious corporate behavior in my time, but the wanton tracking of users who are led to believe that tracking services have been disabled is one of the most upsetting and dangerous trends I’ve ever encountered.
Even when companies aren’t explicitly exploiting our data or tracking our every move, they still callously handle our personal information in concerning ways. Facebook, for instance, has proven time and time again that it’s utterly incompetent when it comes to stymieing disastrous data breaches. Other social media platforms have suffered from data breaches too, but Facebook stands in a league of its own, inundated with constant scandals surrounding how incapable it is at making sure your personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
These days, I’m growing worried that consumers are growing complacent in the trend of data ambivalence, and are entrusting their information to shady corporations who don’t have their best interests at heart. More concerned citizens need to be ensuring that their everyday shopping habits aren’t contributing to a culture of data laziness, wherein we give corporations access to any and all information they want in exchange for hasty or cheap access to their services.
Data is only going to grow more important
The most important aspect of this debate is the fact that data will only become more vital towards everyday life as time goes on. New technological developments that push the IT boom further along will bring with them sensory technologies and surveillance capabilities that allow corporations and governments alike to pour huge amounts of resources towards peeping on average people. If we don’t start taking data seriously soon, we may set into place an irreversible trend of malicious data mishandling.
Consumers should begin boycotting goods and services that don’t enable them to disable location tracking services, and should be pushing corporations to embrace cultures of transparency. Similarly, regulators and government officials need to be taking more seriously the threat that corporations pose to everyday privacy and human rights. Driven by profit, the world’s largest tech companies have few incentives to care about you, and inversely every motivation in the world to exploit your data to the greatest extent possible.
There’s no reversing the IT boom, as Pandora’s box can’t simply be closed once its lid is opened. If we’re to survive in the digital age as free individuals, we need to begin championing data privacy today. Corporate control of data isn’t good for anyone, and will continue to be exploited by nefarious business behemoths intent of extracting profits from your personal information.
Gary Eastwood has over 18 years’ experience as a science and technology journalist, editor, and copywriter.
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