Once upon a time, I thought I will be the most significant person for the world. Little did I know I will be so important for someone’s presidential candidature? I thought one’s work, one’s life is privy to themselves. Though I am not a flagbearer of relationships, love and life, still I believe that I have an opinion not to share my life or rather I will put it as who to share it with. (Also, constitution has “supposedly” given me the right to do so?)
Big data is my small life
Anyone who has not spent the last five years living on another planet or is not an alien knows what Big Data is. Big Data means, in essence, that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. Every purchase we make with our cards, every search we type into Google, every movement we make when our mobile phone is in our pocket, every “like” is stored. Especially every “like.” For a long time, it was not entirely clear what use this data could have—except, perhaps, that we might find ads for weight loss techniques just after we’ve Googled “how to lose weight?”. Data Mining is the practice of examining pre-existing data in order to generate new information.
How does it impact us?
In a nutshell, I am a bit hesitant to be a product that’s being sold. I ought to think that my life is my sole property. Also, why on earth somebody would be interested in my life? (Creepy!)
Technically speaking, we have no idea of how, when and where our data is being used/sold to. Through an API, a feature that allows programs to interface with Facebook, that was well documented “in their terms of service”, data is collected.
The tech giant’s DNA is entirely based on drawing on what it knows of its users, whatever its CEO might apologetically tell us by placing ads all over the newspapers. So, some firm or an individual was only a bit player in the data-hoovering game. Apps we access while merely surfing through Facebook in our leisure time were also able to collect user’s intricate details. And Facebook seemed blissfully indifferent to this. More people signed, more the revenues they were generating and their “bringing the world together” would be monetised in a better way.
That’s why the story to be highlighted amidst controversy of data breach is the fact that what Cambridge Analytica claimed to have accomplished would not have been possible without Facebook. So, we all know where the problem lies.
So, is it exploitation of data in disguise of ‘Connecting the world’ or are we really bringing the world together? Is it scandal or crisis? So, if it’s a crisis we can wait for a fundamental change or wait for another data breach. Least, we can do is be more cautious of what and where to share and proactively aware the giants of a term called- ‘Ethics’.
By Veena YJ