You are being watched

This may not come as a surprise, but there is a large tech company watching you (actually more than one). Even more so, if you use a smartphone. Let’s take a closer look at this. If you own a smartphone, you will also have an account with this tech company. You use email, calendar, the browser, maps, and probably other services. All “for free”.

But they watch your every move:

  • Track your location at all times using your phone GPS
  • Know what kind of transportation you use 
  • Know who you contacts are, their email addresses and phone numbers
  • Read your emails and knows who you communicate with, what newsletters you receive, what you buy online
  • Know what you search online
  • Know your browsing history
  • What videos you watch on their video streaming service 

… just to name the main things.

 

Now, what do they do with all this? They use it to profile you and place ads. In other words, they sell advertising to businesses and make 100B a year. Did you sign up for this? Did you consciously agree with “You may make loads of money with my data”. 

Did you agree to be the product?

How many copies of my data are there?

I often wonder how my personal data is being handled.

Here’s an example list of organisations that have my personal data in their files:

  • Government. From central to local government institutions, they own several digital and physical copies of my personal data, ID card, etc.
  • Insurance companies. I have policies with at least 5 insurance companies. All of them have digital, some physical copies of my data
  • Banks. I have banks accounts at 4 different banks
  • Airlines. Every time I fly, airlines collect my personal data
  • Hotels – every hotel keeps guitar records of their guest. Many make physical copies of your ID or passport
  • Online services like Google, Facebook, Apple or Amazon

To make matters worse, COVID-19 brought this to the next level. Now even restaurants or other small businesses are collecting personal data. I admit, this scares me. Every time one of these organisations wants my data, I ask myself “how are they taking care of it?”, “how are they using it?”

Where does it end? Are you comfortable about who uses your data?

How do we take back control of our data?

This is a growing concern. While there are companies specialising in preventing fraud and identity theft and doing a great job, the fundamental problem is still there. There are  digital and physical copies of our personal data everywhere.

What if he had a sort of personal data wallet?

  • By default your personal data belongs to you
  • You give access it to when you want or need to
  • No copies are created
  • You know who accessed your data and when
  • You can revoke access at any time

Would you use a service like this?

Paulo Nunes

I'm an entrepreneur and AI enthusiast, CEO of Two Impulse