Rather than waiting for Big Data to regulate itself, or for the government to catch up, the author points out that many of us will begin to buy back our privacy little pieces at a time with various existing and yet to be developed technologies. The staff here has been waiting patiently for many such services. First on the list is a Mozilla or Ubuntu phone. Little else will be effective when the technology underlying our chief communications devices are developed for the express purpose of gathering and reselling data.
Not long ago, we would have bought services as important to us as mail and news. Now, however, we get all those services for free — and we pay with our personal data, which is spliced and diced and bought and sold.
Those who aren’t bothered by that exchange should keep in mind that our data is used not just for advertisements. It has also been used to charge people different prices based on their personal information. It has been used to provide different search results to different people based on their political interests. It has been used by the government to identify possible criminal and terrorist suspects.
The food industry can offer some possible answers to those questions. Our government enforces baseline standards for the safety of all food and has strict production and labeling requirements for organic food. It may be time to start doing the same for our data.
NYTimes: Has Privacy Become a Luxury Good?