Data privacy plays a big role in our modern lives. Nobody wants to share something publicly that will affect their image.
Yet, how many of us read the Terms Of Services of any online platforms we use. You know, that boring endless page that tells you in law lingo what you can do and what information you are ready to share by using the platform.
99% of us would not.
And in my opinion, that's where the problem is. If you buy a house, you would read all the paperwork before signing up the lease. If you buy a car, you would do the same.
So why wouldn't you read through the terms and conditions that bound you with the platform you decide to use?
Is it because it is free to use? Is it because it is trendy and all your friends are on it? Is it because it is too long to read and you don't bother?
One thing I learned quickly in life is that nothing comes for free and that we are accountable for our actions.
Companies have business models they strategically put in place in order to generate a sustainable income. And in the example of Facebook, that is paid advertising.
Advertisers can promote their products in front of the eyes of people who show that interest in this kind of products.
But to be clear, it does not mean that Facebook is selling or making your personal data available to third party companies. As Mark Zuckerberg said during the hearing this week:
"What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement … That’s a very fundamental part of how our model works and something that is often misunderstood.”
Every action you take on Facebook means that you are willing to share your information with the company. Every action generates signals of interests that can be used by the company to show the right product or service from advertisers to you.
Mark Zuckerberg added:
"Every piece of content that you share on Facebook, you own, and you have complete control over who sees it and how you share it, and you can remove it at any time.”
I believe the problem is not only about how Facebook or other companies handle our data.
The problem comes from everyone not making the effort to be aware of the risks of using social media platforms.
I would always say that if you do not want to share your information online, then do not own a smartphone and do not use Internet. If you can live that way nowadays, kuddos!
But for the majority of us, soon enough we would feel like an outcast and it would take only couple hours before FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) hits us.
We live in the digital information age and technology will continue to change over time, as user devices or methods of interaction with others.
The problem does not come from the technology but from the usage we make of it. Nobody taught us how to use technology. We kind of just learned on the go but the majority of us would let technology control our lives so much that digital detox retreats are now becoming something common.
Technology is so present in our lives that we do not know anymore how to live without our gadgets.
We have to disconnect (from the digital world) to reconnect (with the real world).
Is that normal?
Technology and online tools only have the power we give them.
Sure they are designed to keep you using them as much as possible, but without you they are powerless.
I believe the best way to better manage our data is to learn first how the technology works and be aware of the kind of data we decide to share online.
Companies can be as transparent as they can in their Terms Of Services, but as long as people won't make the effort to read them, it won't matter.
We all leave digital footprints everywhere we browse on Internet like we would do in the real world. Yet we are more aware of the prints we leave in the real world than in the digital world.
In one hand, Learning how to better manage our digital footprint would be already a big step towards avoiding usage of data collection.
In the second hand, Companies like Facebook are not bulletproof and we need to be aware that our data will never, ever be 100% secure.
Data security is the issue of our time as more and more of our daily lives is stored on online servers. Personally, I do not mind as I know the risks, but not everyone does.