Data and Society hosted a good talk today titled “Abolish Big Data“. The argument was that most of the big data is being used to screw us and mentions data trusts as a possible solution. Data trusts are an immature concept but worth considering because it’s one approach to decentralizing governance. Until we figure out data governance principles that are transparent and contextual to specific communities we should limit data aggregation by default and focus on personal agents and other fiduciaries.
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A friend of mine sent this link to me. I was incensed. (I think he knew I would be). In turn, I sent this link into an Internet Identity community I belong to and asked : “How many different ways is this wrong?”
People First Podcast Guest Tim Walters was quick to reply (the link takes you to the podcast – the show has not yet gone live).
The great and sadly late European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, said it all in 2014:
“There might well be a market for personal data, just like there is, tragically, a market for live human organs, but that does not mean that we can or should give that market the blessing of legislation. One cannot monetise and subject a fundamental right to a simple commercial transaction, even if it is the individual concerned by the data who is a party to the transaction.”
If I thought it was worth $10 a month, I’d go to a shopping district and gather discarded receipts to scan for Amazon. After all, “That data will be used anonymously, the company says.” But . . . if it is genuinely used anonymously, why doesn’t Amazon just collect and study discarded receipts themselves? They could certainly find a way to do it at far more scale — not to mention, actually anonymously — than a cumbersome mailed-pictures-of-paper-receipts-for-Amazon-credit scheme. (S&H Green Stamps, anyone?)
The company says it deletes any sensitive information such as prescriptions from drug store receipts and allows panellists to delete their own information whenever they want.” Oh, not so anonymous after all.Tim Walters / Giovanni Buttarelli
What do you think?
It’s a couple of months old now – but sharing for posterity.
This popped into a thread that I am part of …
A thread that caused ‘Friend of People First’ – Adrian Gropper to write;
A talk that argues that most of the big data is being used to screw us and mentions data trusts as a possible solution. Data trusts are an immature concept but worth considering because it’s one approach to decentralizing governance. Until we figure out data governance principles that are transparent and contextual to specific communities we should limit data aggregation by default and focus on personal agents and other fiduciaries.Adrian Gropper
It is interesting because on that very same day I received these words from another ‘Friend of People First’ and occasional colleague Daniel Szuc after he received my newsletter declaring Data is Energy.
Energy is energy.Daniel Szuc and Josephine Wong
Climate is a result of energy misused.
Environment is the outcome.
What are the impacts on our environment today, inside people and in the outside environment people live in?
What contributes to the health or toxicity of the environment?
Data, understood deeply, should be used to contribute to the healthy environment … yet … how is it being used today?
The answer, of course, is exactly what Adrian expressed above.
It is being used to screw us.
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From time to time, my newsletter gets a little TOO long and then I cut and move some of the more self-contained chunks to here, so that people can read the newsletter and if interested can jump to here for more detail. This is one of those chunks.
Are we winning? Well a whole lot more than we might have been pre-internet.
Ad blockers are used by some 25% of internet users in 2019. In real terms, this means that 25% of internet advertising that uses trackers will not reach their intended audience. (It’s quite a bit more complicated than that, but the point is that somehow the word got out that people were being tracked and it was those pesky Ads doing all the tracking – enter Adblocking and so an industry was born and an ‘arms race’ ensued.)
Me – I call it ‘tracker blocking’. There are sites that allow advertising and do not track. Ad blockers don’t work there – because there is no tracking to be blocked.
But there is no escape that at one point people were increasingly aware of ad blocking – what it was doing and most importantly – what it was doing to them. They got interested. And then it all fell away.
That’s the mistake – we need to keep piling on. Keep reminding people what is going on.