I know I sound pessimistic when writing about data privacy and the intrusion by foreign governments into my life or the way private companies are exploiting every bit of (meta-)data I create. Some might think I started wearing a tin foil hat, and in a way I actually might. I’m definitely changing my online behavior.
But my main goal is to spread awareness. I understand that not everything strictly speaking has to be bad. My point is that not everyone understands or even knows what’s going on behind the scenes. People should at least understand that their data is used and might be exploited. If everyone would specifically know what’s going on, there would be a conscious decision. And while I still don’t think people would care, at least they were to blame themselves for being exploited.
Nobody really knows where all this is leading in the future. Very few people actually think about these things and what’s already possible. These companies are completely unregulated and basically can do whatever they want. If there are any rules or laws, nobody can really enforce them. Just have a look at GDPR and the way companies treat it. It was a panic hype last year when it became law and every single company was complaining. Yes, they might have implemented something where you can request your data, but who knows/believes that this is everything they actually have. It can’t be everything they have in a lot of cases. And that’s just a basic example of how our data is hidden from us. If everyone would know what’s going on, my reaction would be different. But my data is basically treated as a trade secret. I’m not allowed to know what any given company is doing with my data. I might be allowed by GDPR, but again… who actually gives a damn about that?
Again… it’s not all just bad and will lead into a dark future. Of course a lot of use cases are valid and make lives better. And of course I also make use of them. But we’re not aware anymore about what’s happening. And this needs to change. We need to take back control over our data. There need to be laws and regulations, and maybe more importantly, there needs to be someone who can actually overlook and enforce them.