We Are a Commodity. Happy Data Privacy Day on January 28?
I have had my personal digital information compromised more times than I would like – I hope the person who purchased the Dyson vacuum on my checking account is enjoying it, the beer my husband and I shared at Whole Foods maybe wasn’t worth the cost, and the handing over of all my personal health information in the emergency room to the wrong person, to name but a few. It is aggravating to the point of infuriation, stressful, and scary.
What is astonishing is that the companies responsible believe they ‘own’ my personal information and really don’t care. Our personal information has been disassociated from the ‘people’ part of the equation. We are data, zeros and ones, and if we are compromised, oh well, just a damaged inventory item. In most cases we aren’t even notified, unless the press finds out about it. Or we are notified at some far-off future date. How many times does it happen when we are totally unaware of it? We have become an expendable commodity, with little or no value, except as an opportunity for a sale.
What is also very disturbing is we, the people compromised, seem to accept this practice. I’m not sure what we can do to change the way these businesses work. For one, cease doing business with them. But that won’t happen in the mass numbers that would make a dent in their privacy protection practices. Contact your lawmakers? That is a joke without a punch line.
In some ways, we have become inured to the practice, get angry for a moment in time, and move on, accepting the fact that there is nothing we can really do about it. Rally ‘round the flag? Well, there isn’t a flag. I am all for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) initiative. I wish the US would mirror the law, but big business rules. Heaven forbid we make businesses accountable. So, ‘Happy’ Data Privacy Day.
I guess all we can do is cease doing business with companies who happen to get caught, be more careful with our online information, and voice our displeasure to organizations when our information is compromised. Unfortunately, we are not in control. They are, and they should be ashamed of themselves. So much for corporate conscience and social responsibility. Think about it when you participate in one of their ‘charity’ events. We are already paying for it, over and over again.
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