Dinner Table Topic – Whose data is it?
In a recent lecture at MCV, John Wilbanks showed an image of an iPhone and said, “This is a ubiquitous surveillance device that we use to make phone calls.” Unsettling, but true.
Observation: Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Target routinely gather data about us that they use for a variety of purposes, including deciding what search results to show us and what fliers to send to our mailboxes. In some cases, we don’t know what data is being gathered, nor do we have access to it. Consider some or all of these subquestions.
- What limits or rules should exist about data companies gather, store, and share with other companies about us?
- To what extent should you be able to access the data stored about you?
- What are the trade-offs between being in these personalized Internet bubbles and shutting off personalization to maintain more privacy? When and why do you opt for personalization even though you realize the company needs data about you in order to provide the personalization?
- What practices/habits have you cultivated for breaking out of these bubbles and seeing/hearing the bigger picture, particularly when public policy is at stake?