The People vs Data Hoarders

It is no secret that social media companies, a startup with access to our phone data and a bunch of other data hoarders have a huge amount of information gathered on everyone ever using a smartphone or having an account somewhere. What is interesting to me is when push comes to shove, how regulations will be applied to the already existing behemoths.

Most of the smartphone users don’t bother to check their default settings when starting up their device for the first time. They also do not check the permissions the apps they download and use. Privacy and security in many cases are just an afterthought for them.

The trip you make to the local supermarket records your steps, path, pace, how many times you were there in the past 30, 60 or 365 days. Your smartwatch does the say, plus probably adding your heart rate, the calls and texts you’ve received during the trip. To this, we might add the loyalty card you pulled out of your app for scanning at the counter and the Apple Pay card you’ve used. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last night, you discussed learning Python and getting into data analysis in order to be able to stay competitive in the job market. The following morning, while browsing through your Instagram feed, ads with online courses for learning Python started appearing and they would remain there for the next seven days.

You delete a drunken selfie from Facebook or Twitter, but is it really gone from their servers? Will it ever come back and haunt you in the most inappropriate moment? A mother of a teenage son tries to find in the browser’s history the link to that pottery class she saw last week. But where all these Pornhub links popping up from?

Sooner or later, the government will start taking drastic measure to put the data hoarders into a heavy regulation. Now they only invite Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey to Q&A sessions. But what will happen when their business, billions of dollars ad revenue and user base are threatened? Will they stay idle or will they counter-attack?

The amount of information being available is hard to comprehend. And I am not talking only about things no one will be ashamed of. Sexting, video chats, inappropriate tweets and much darker behavioural patterns are being recorded, stored and filed, ready to be accessed with a query and press of Enter.

The last couple of week’s revelations about Facebook asking their PR firm to go after George Soros, just because the latter stated at a forum that he sees the social network as a threat to the society, did not inspire confidence in me. And this is just a private citizen, albeit a very rich and influential one, speaking his mind…

Perhaps, I am ready too much into this, but I will not be surprised even a little bit when the regulation time comes around, the gloves coming off and the fight getting nasty. No more privacy for anyone involved in the regulation setting process for sure.

Or maybe you see things differently?

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

Copyright © 2018 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.