Big tech Companies Invading our Privacy Are always being recorded by our electronic devices?
“Big tech” companies like Google and Facebook are constantly gathering private information on people to increase their data and grow their businesses. Whether it’s through posts on our “private” Instagram accounts, or indiscreet google searches, we are always being recorded by our electronic devices.
The problem with this is that people have lost control of their personal data and the collection of it has become unavoidable in the modern world. If you have ever used a credit card, the internet, gone to school, or subscribed to cable television, your information is being collected, organized, purchased and sold on a global market.
Some people would argue data mining can also be used for good, for example, it could help to discover specific health threats. For example, if people search and post about symptoms they get from specific substances and the mixture of them, that can help doctors to become aware of certain issues. However, that does not guarantee that our information will always be used for good and the main problem with this situation is the lack of control we have regarding where our data goes. Not only do we not have control over our data, but everyone working with technology is benefiting off of our information while the person providing it is not.
Although it is far too late to take back all control of our data, we can still have a say in making guidelines for what and how it is being used. Unfortunately, in the United States, this issue has not been brought to our attention as much.
The European Union launched new data-protection rules called the General Data Protection Regulation last Friday. Not too soon afterward, Facebook and Google continued to data mine, luckily, complaints were quickly made towards these Silicon Valley Tech giants by a nonprofit organization called “None Of Your Business” (NOYB).
Because of the new rules in place, these complaints forced regulators to charge fines of $4.5 billion to Google and $1.5 billion to Facebook. On top of this, Max Schrems, architect of NOYB, challenged the “safe harbor” policies that allowed American companies to safely store European data.
These guidelines that Europe is providing, is essential to protecting everyone’s control over their information especially as technology is advancing. Hopefully, the United States will be next to make these essential changes regarding our data.