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Web Project Manager,

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Should we be concerned with companies owning our data?

As far as I know, google was one of the first to pioneer the business model of providing an online service free of charge in order for them to harvest user data. Now I'm sure some of you are thinking "if people are willing to give up their information, it serves them right". I believe the average person has no idea what happens behind the scenes with large online services. For that matter most politicians don't fully understand it. Now, I am not saying that google, apple, twitter, or facebook have a master plan to turn people into sheep in order control them for their own financial gain, but the truth is that the temptation is growing as we willingly give them larger windows into our lives.

This centralized data world we are moving into needs to have some serious accountability, and safegards put in place. People need to be educated on not only with where we are now, but also in how we are being led to share more and more of our lives online, and where this could lead us as humanity.

If anyone has any insights on what measures may be in place to protect people that I am not aware of, please let me know. The advantages of having centralized data is incredible, and this was a natural progression of technology which is here to stay, but I do have my concerns.


Banks sell consumers' shopping data to retailers:

Mobile Privacy bill:


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  • Jun 27 2011: I think the only thing you can do as an individual is to make sure you monitor yourself and remain conscious of what type of information is available about you. For example, a few months ago I decided to share my location on Google Maps just so I'm constantly reminded that what I do is never a private matter. I know that my cellphone company has access to that information and I can't do anything about it, but if I'm fully aware of this, maybe some days I'll decide to leave my cellphone home or take the battery off.

    I think it's the same with your online image. It took me a while before I started to use Facebook. What convinced me is the fact that people were tagging me on pictures that I didn't even know existed. Now, I monitor it. As for companies that harvest information, I think the only thing we can do as individuals is be aware of it and feed them with enough information so that the picture that they get is more like the picture you want them to get...

    If you keep trying to give away as little information as possible, that's when you picture becomes distorted, and I think that may cause problems in the future. If something embarassing is available about you, maybe you should make sure that the explanation is also available.

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