Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.
We Trust Big Business Dont We
So with all this technology available it would be fair to say that we are putting a huge amount of faith in the integrity of business's (and governments) to keep our data secure and not misuse it. We know we can trust these folks to not lie, cheat or steal from us. Sure accidents happen but that's it, they are just accidents.
Remember what I said about business not being good or evil. Well its true and I now include governments in this statement. Business's are only interested in making money, and governments are only interested in staying in power.
Of course if they should take shortcuts to save a buck or do something wrong, more often than not they will try to claim it was an accident, or in our best interests. We all remember how Google "accidentally" gathered all that wifi network traffic with its Street-View cars.
Where Is The Value For The Consumer
So far I have shown you all the dangers to us as users of this technology, and the potential benefits to business's (and other agencies). What I have not yet shown you is the benefits to us the users. There is a reason for this... I cant find any. Well not many.
Yes social networks can be a great fun and the Internet really is a great tool. Sometimes its even nice to get reminders from our local hardware shop about a new set of shiny tools coming in. However do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Who Owns Your Data
To finish let me ask this. Who owns your information? You have willingly submitted it to privately owned and run computer systems, operated by business's and agencies who have no interest in your personal rights beyond what is required by law. What do you think they are doing with the information you have given them about your life and that of your friends and family?
In the end I say this. We cannot and should not abandon technology and the freedom of information the internet has brought about just because some bad things could happen. However we must always remember that our data is valuable to others and not just give it out like free candy.
We must be aware of the risks and make informed decisions. This is the new digital reality of our world and we need to stop treating it like a school playground.