A news report was trending online yesterday: Facebook reportedly gave (sold/traded)Facebook users and their friends’ data to 60 companies including Apple, Google…
Should we be surprised?
Data is the new currency today. The companies such as Facebook, Google or Apple are giving us free service for nothing. We are also giving them information about ourselves and our friends. We are giving them information about every aspect of our lives — What we search, who we befriend, what we buy, how we buy etc. etc. Actually through this data, they earn money. So it is a mutual relationship. Anyone among us, who sees it as a theft, must first read the Terms of Service (TOS) which they have agreed to while using or signing up for these services/products.
We have discussed these aspects about data and TOS earlier as well, when a previous article here informed you why it thinks BJP would have started taking Cambridge Analytica’s services much before Congress. In another article, we discussed as to why Modern day Governments in most countries are not authoritatively positioned to issue warnings to Facebooks and Googles.
To conclude, if as a user you don’t want people to have access to data related to you, then stop using a smartphone and switch back to a basic phone, with just calling features. In addition, also stop using internet (or surfing, using web for any purpose). But will you, or anyone among us be able to do that?… The answer will be NO.
So the option for anyone will be to read the TOS before signing up for any services. But even that will be a difficult task for most of us. Only going through the TOS can tell you the extent of your consent to the service provider. It will also tell you whether you are giving your consent for your Data to be sold to third party vendors or not.
So what is the best option to safeguard your data, or limit the proliferation of your data without your prior consent?
Sign-up for only those services, apps, social networks online with whom you want to share data. They usually ask the user or reader before storing the tiniest of their data, eg. an email.
Finally, data laws are not clear in India and elsewhere yet. They are just evolving. So we can never know who is storing our data and to what extent. Nearly all mobile apps (whether official, Government or private) — whether they be social networks, eCommerce etc. — store our data. So how much due care we need to exercise, depends on us, the user.
Disclaimer: The Dehradun Post doesn’t store or monitor any of its reader’s personal data.