“Mind your Data”, is what everyone says since the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue came into light. The word “Data” has become the talk of the town since then. There has been so much negativity about “Data” and people unaware of the reality are up in arms against the Companies and their Governments.
Hence, I would discuss both in support of and against the use of Data. We know that ever since the technology advanced, the lives of humans became easier. More than making lives easy, technology made people lazy. Even the daily household chores have been taken over by machines, a product of technology. This made people unhealthy and their health deteriorated over time and now the situation is such that, a mobile click does even the simplest task for humans.
Everything has changed so much that even before you plan to purchase something, you start getting product/services suggestions. You should also have noticed that you get followed by advertisements wherever you go. Maybe, it is on the internet, billboards, TV ads, mobile ads, emails, SMSes, and the list is endless. CREEPY!!! Isn’t it?
- You are receiving SMSes on your mobile phone informing you about the latest offers or birthday wishes from a supermarket where shopped a few months ago.
- You are seeing ads on your social networking account for a product you Googled last night.
You must be wondering, how does this relate to the word Data?
The word Data is defined as “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis”. Whenever you do an online activity, you are sharing your data with third persons. The third persons may be marketing & data collection companies, Governments, security agencies etc.
The marketers/data collection companies collect information like your purchases, the value of the purchase, previous location, & non-PII’s (Personally Identifiable information). This helps them to build a database of potential customers and build categories of their lifestyle interests and target them and market their products online/offline.
The data can be collected online or offline. Generally, they use Session Cookies to collect data online. The session cookie is stored in temporary memory of the browser and is not retained after the browser is closed. Session cookies do not collect information from your computer. They typically will store information in the form of a session identification that does not personally identify the user.
The other way of collecting data is from retail stores & supermarket, which is also known as offline data. The data collection agencies visit major supermarkets, retail stores and offer some benefit in return for their collected customer’s data.
Some marketers combine both online and offline information so that they have enriched data which becomes more effective and avoids targeting the same customer for one product/service multiple times.
Governments and security agencies collect the data for a whole different purpose like national security, tracking criminals, welfare schemes etc.
Coming back to minding your data, you can do the following to safeguard/limit sharing your data.
- Check privacy settings on social media accounts. Turn off sharing permissions which you think shouldn’t be shared.
- Limit access of third-party applications to your social media accounts.
- Update your online account passwords regularly. Have the strongest possible password but easy to memorize.
- Turn off data sharing permissions in mobile applications. Some applications don’t work if all permissions are OFF. For example, photo editor won’t work if you don’t allow access to your photo gallery.
- If you are sharing your information offline (supermarkets/retailer), make sure you do not give away any personal details unless required.
Be prepared to live with the bitter truth that, No information is private in this world. If you don’t, then do not use technology at all which is next to impossible.
Your data privacy is in your own hands!