banks rants – never forget it is YOUR data

Recently there has been a lot of drama about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and what they did or did not do with our Facebook data but in my mind, I want to ask everyone… what were you thinking they were doing with all your data? What did you think would happen when you gave an application access to your contacts? When you gave the application access to your location… to a lot of things? Do I need to go back to 2012 and remind you about the Target story (whether truth or fiction) that stated that the chain knew that a young teenager was pregnant before her family did. Companies have been using data for YEARS for and against you, hoping that the information that we give to them will tell them something about our likes and dislikes and allow them to gain a competitive advantage. Companies have constantly been pulling from everything that is now digital. Whether it is email, likes, where we walk, or what we buy, this information is constantly being gathered on us as users. The data may be anonymized but that doesn’t mean that when multiple sources are added together, they get a clear understanding of YOU.

All of this has and will continue to be occurring. There are companies out there that focus on providing data to other companies specifically to make money on both sides. This is the digital age we are in. We are now in the era where data is everything. Some people like to think it is the start of Skynet but I am hoping we can fix it before that. I even had a customer from Saudia Arabia recently tell me that “data is the new oil”.

digital era

Either way, the fact is the data is generated by you… yes through applications but you downloaded, you gave the app permission, you took the quiz, you have been using phones with “less security”. I told you this back in 2011… Now some people want it easy and I get that but there are consequences for it. Seriously, why exactly did you think the company wanted you to take the quiz?

Granted, yes I am suspicious of everything. I use fake accounts and fake names all the time. I never click the ads. I put tape over my computer cameras, I unplugged Alexa, I don’t let my applications “communicate” with one another and I definitely don’t let any application get a hold of my contact list! I am more like my friend on Facebook who recently posted…

not deleting

Now according to the NY Times, the information that was gathered was…

“What kind of information was collected, and how was it acquired?

The data, a portion of which was viewed by The New York Times, included details on users’ identities, friend networks and “likes.” The idea was to map personality traits based on what people had liked on Facebook, and then use that information to target audiences with digital ads.

Researchers in 2014 asked users to take a personality survey and download an app, which scraped some private information from their profiles and those of their friends, activity that Facebook permitted at the time and has since banned.”

All I am saying is understand what really bothers you about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue. Is it the fact that political parties are using data against you or are you upset that Facebook shared this information with a third party? You are putting a lot of trust into companies whose main goal is to make money from you and the only way they can do that is understand who you are and what your interests are. Until regulations like GDPR are in effect everywhere, your information will always be “owned” by some other company and honestly… don’t get me started on regulation.

After you watch my video, you need to watch this video from a Stanford Data Scientist about privacy and data. The fact is you need to more aware of what you sharing because businesses , all businesses, will always continue to use your data.


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  1. #1 by Andrew Grubb on April 2, 2018 - 18:14

    There’s a lot of fascinating things about this whole Cambridge Analytica development. Obviously some are now enlightened that while Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” in reality they’re not doing this altruistically and to a degree the people they are referring to are also their product. Does that change the way folks look at social media? How about other orgnanizations who look to collect and/or utilize data and customer insights, especially when you could probably argue there are fewer companies who aren’t doing so?

    It’s also fascinating to think about how we’re still only scratching the surface here on what we know about how our data is used, and how it may be used in the future. While I don’t think we’ll see a system of Social Credit like China’s here, atleast not a state sponsored one, but there’s absolutely potential for organizations to start, if they haven’t already, to leverage the types of insights they can gain from these data sources as they make decisions to hire someone, admit them to a school, issue a loan, etc. Yes, there are regulations and guidelines trust address some of these decisions but, do they account for the types of data and insights available now?

    I also wonder about how each subsequent generation will ultimately feel about all of this. I’m not quite as guarded as some, but I’m aware. We all know the millenial generation is definitely more accepting of these things but still (barely) remembers a time before Facebook. “Generation Z” or whatever we ultimately call the post-millenial generation has no such experience. I spend a lot of time talking to my 16 year old daughter about all this, trying to get her tothink twice about these things, but I’m not so sure she “gets it”. Then again, who is to say our perspectives on privacy will be relevant in their world. She’s got an expectation of how she will interacts with people and organizations that we’e only recently started to understand and appreciate. While we may look to try and limit access to our personal data, her generation may have no desire to “opt out” or choice to even do so.

    And on and on..

    • #2 by Erin K. Banks on April 2, 2018 - 19:08

      A) thank you for responding and 2) all the above…
      as much as I try to be positive in my life, I worry more about the bad that will happen with the data versus the good we are hoping to get out of it. But I grew up with a rotary phone. I worry about the ethics associated with companies using all of our data and the assumptions that it brings with it. I feel that the real problem is data ethics. But how do you manage ethics and how do you manage it in a world where money controls everything? Do we even teach people ethics? Honestly, I feel that “doing the right thing” has gone out the window. Can you regulate ethics? And do people care? We certainly have completely different expectations then the next generation. I wish we had some answers but until that time, talking to your daughter and “forcing” her to think, I feel, is one of the most important things you can do. Discussions and/or arguments are so important in this day and age because if we don’t ask the questions, if we don’t do our best to use our mind and truly try to know more, we are just walking blindly and personally, I don’t want to live like that.
      As a side note… I have been reading “Weapons of Math Destruction” and reading up on Data & Society. They both talk about these ethics issues.

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