By Julianne Spencer | Student Posts | January 24,
The next “National Data Privacy Day” is this
Data Privacy Day began in the U.S. in 2009 when the House of Representatives voted in favor of it with the intention of raising awareness about how businesses and individuals share their personal information online — with social networking and mobile devices at top of mind. As Big Data has become more relevant, and has revealed how quickly it can categorize and sort consumer data from mobile devices, consumers realize this goes beyond just compromising your credit card or bank account. Consumer data collected from online activity is being used and analyzed to determine psychological patterns, spending habits, political affiliations, and more of different people throughout the world.
So what does this “international holiday” do? It reminds us that everything we share online and everything we’ve shared in the past is never truly erased, so be careful what you put out there. Even as legal firms push with the california consumer privacy act, or other legal protections, there is a need to be aware of your own data.
As David Markowitz, a Professor of Social Media Analytics at the University of Oregon, said on Tuesday, “Technology knows more about you than you know yourself.”
2018 was a reminder of how our social networking activities are surveillanced. Last year, The Guardian and The New York Times reported that over 87 million Facebook profiles were used for data harvesting and manipulation. The company lost roughly $119 billion in market capitalization after this incident and led consumers to be more concerned about privacy than they were before. In 2018, the European Union created the General Data Protection Regulation, which as of now is currently the world’s most stringent privacy law.
What National Data Privacy Data Day should draw attention to is, as Andrew Burt, Chief Privacy Officer and Legal Engineer at Immuta said in the Harvard Business Review, “…the biggest risk to our privacy and our security has become the threat of unintended inferences, due to the power of increasingly widespread machine learning techniques. Once we generate data, anyone who possesses enough of it can be a threat, posing new dangers to both our privacy and our security.”
This holiday should draw attention to how we distribute data consciously, but also make us think about how we unconsciously submit data as well. From everything to our health, our political preferences, data is being collected to help determine facts about us we don’t even know exist. The silver lining to these data breaches and realizations about consumer data collection is that consumers are taking initiative to become more informed. Because, let’s face it, as we become more visible on social media, or as people create Facebook profiles for their children who were literally born yesterday, the idea of protecting privacy is something we must think about more consciously.
We as consumers know that our data is being collected, which should encourage us to think thoroughly and deliberately about what we say and images we post. If anything National Data Privacy Day allows us to think twice about what content we want to represent us years from now.