Most of us would feel fairly creeped out by finding out an AirBnb or hotel had security cameras watching us. I’m not a woman, and I’m sure ladies are especially bothered by this, but there was an AirBnB rental where a guest found a camera using a little technology scanning. While cameras are allowed, they have to be disclosed.
While many of us would prefer not to be surveilled, we are on a regular basis. Governments are watching our vehicles, all commercial activity is tracked in multiple ways, our locations are captured and sold to anyone. And it’s not even the carriers, it could be software that we think is innocuous and helpful. I would think most people reading this know that everything you do online is tracked, and often tracked from site to site with Facebook, Google, and other APIs, even if you don’t use those companies’ services. What’s disconcerting to me is how extensive data gathering and tracking has become and most people aren’t aware how comprehensive it has become.
And in a wonderful set of timing. As I was writing this, I got a great article about how Google apparently isn’t perceived as invading privacy to the extent that they are. We likely trust them more than we should.
The capture and misuse of data continues to grow. Whether this is by criminals, governments, or commercial businesses, it’s something we have to deal with. This isn’t necessarily any particular organization or situation that stands out, though the larger organizations likely have an out-sized impact and benefit from this. This is one of the reasons why the GDPR and similar legislation was passed. It’s a first attempt, and arguably weak attempt, to limit the use of data by organizations in ways that might be contrary to the wishes of the human that generated the data.
Personally I like the GDPR, and while it might need alteration over time, it does start to to examine the idea that humans ought to be in control of data about them, just as we are often in (some) control of many of the physical items in the world we own. There are rules and regulations, restrictions, and even legal processes that provide recourse over our possessions. Those ought to be extended, and certainly adapted, to digital data, with the corresponding rights that we currently have and perhaps even new ones.
I think this is going to impact our jobs as data professionals in the future. While we will have more requirements, more hassles from security, and more restrictions, this is also going to ensure that organizations need data professionals for a long time.
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