Link 001: What is done with personal data?

“For decades, personal data has been routinely packaged and sold on the private market to all manner of companies: marketing firms, hedge funds, data analytics companies, and so forth. The conceit is that, as long as this data is anonymized, it can’t be used to identify anyone. And prior to the online age, that was the case; it wasn’t a huge threat to personal privacy that Visa was selling the shopping habits of millions of Americans.

But today, things are different. Apple has detailed facial maps of hundreds of millions of iPhone users. Oura has biometric data on anyone who uses an Oura Ring. Netflix knows everything about what you’ve watched on their service, Uber knows everywhere you’ve taken a cab, Facebook knows more about you than your parents. Countless companies have unfathomable amounts of information on their customers, and frequently, this information is for sale. It’s easy to imagine one company building an unfathomably vast database of information from many different sources, and using that collected data to triangulate and de-anonymize individual people.

The fix? Simple: Ban the sale of personal data, period. Additionally, require all companies to allow their users to opt out from the retention of data about them, including a right to retroactively delete all data at any time. To make sure such laws aren’t ignored, include severe penalties for violations.”

From Revolver News, November, 2021.