Privacy, Mine: the Right of Individual Persons, Not of the Data

data privacy

 

“For true, lasting privacy, we must shift from the ‘privacy policies’ of companies, which spring from data protection laws, to the ‘privacy’ of individual persons, as contemplated by human rights laws.”

How do we accomplish this shift?

TL;DR (in summary)

  • Privacy pertains to the person; “privacy” is the state of being free from public attention and unwanted intrusion.
  • Data is not privacy, but data from or about a person can be private or not private depending on how it’s used, who is using it and who has control of it.
  • In the digital world, a person’s privacy policy is like the clothing that one puts on to signal what data they consider private and what is not private.
  • The companies (sites, apps and so on) that respect a person’s privacy will build relationships with that person over time.
  • The accumulation of trust over time incentivizes good behavior by both parties, to preserve value and not lose it instantly.

We live in the age of surveillance marketing, where consumers’ privacy is being violated without their knowledge, consent or recourse. Data from and about consumers is collected en masse by ad-tech companies and traded for profit. But few consumers knew about it until things blow up like the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal. Most consumers think they are interacting with the sites they’re visiting or the apps (like Facebook) they’re using, but they aren't aware of the dozens of hidden ad-tech trackers that siphon their data off to other places or the aggressive data collection and cross-device tracking of apps. Not only are they not aware, they also definitely did not give consent to third parties to use, buy and sell their data. They wouldn’t even know who ABCTechCompany was anyway if it asked for consent.

Consent Is Not the Same as Permission, But Consumers Are Tricked Anyway