Nothing in life is free, least of all an internet service or social media platform. That was the summary finding reached by our discussion that explored personal data. To begin with we focussed on the apparent inadequacy of many data protection policies:
· Despite promising to protect users’ data, services seem to regularly harvest – and possibly sell – people’s information. · What happens if a social media platform is sold or merged with a competitor? Will the original agreement be honoured? · People are generally very mistrustful of large global companies and how they handle data. · Should we have the right to be forgotten or to have our data deleted permanently from the internet?
Despite these concerns, the discussion circled next around the idea of user apathy. Do people really care if their data is being somehow misused? And, even if people appreciate something of their data’s value, might they still continue to turn a blind eye to possible abuses if the service they receive continues to grow and improve?
We discussed the global nature of data, data doesn’t just stay still and dwell quietly in its country of origin. Quite the opposite. Data now crosses geographic and legislative boundaries. As it moves, more companies, governments and organisations may see it – particularly if it enters geographies where legal protection is lacking.
In conclusion, the conversation circled around the need for openness. The more open organisations are about their policies and motives, the more likely people are to trust them.