Reasons to care about your data

5 reasons to care about your personal information – Wednesday #3

The most valuable commodity I know of is information”Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987)gordon-gekko-wall-street

Are we seeing the value? The 2011 World Economic Forum compared personal information to oil, the most valuable resource of the 21st Century.  What’s crazy is that this industry is evolving contrary to the economic law of commoditization.  Data is increasing in value with the increase of supply!  I just read on CNN Tech that data is now a $300 billion a year industry.  Acxiom one of the largest data broking firms recorded $1.1 billion in sales 2 years ago.

Are we missing out on more $$$$$$?  Handshake a new PIMS that is in the testing phase of brokering individuals data, estimates that someone like me could earn up to $8000 a year!  Have I got your attention now?

Federico Zannier asked this same question and set up a kick starter project to sell all of his personal data for $2 a day.  The goal was to make $500 but this was far surpassed and he actually raised $2700.

If we are talking value in terms of improved service then yes there are some good examples where my satisfaction is high because they have tailored their offering just for me.  Netflix, iTunes and Amazon are good examples here, they remember me, make my purchases easy and make recommendations from my history.  But! as for better deals or advertising, I am really not experiencing efficiencies with irrelevant promotions and advertising cluttering my digital world – I really don’t need speed dating a Hyundai or weigh loss products .  My other bugbear is the longer we have to wait in line at stores.  The number of clicks to identify the right product, personal details and other data entry points is mind numbingly annoying.  It isn’t just me is it?  is everyone experiencing longer queues in stores?



5 reasons to care about your personal information – Tuesday #2

“You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than anyone else”  Albert Einstein


We don’t have enough knowledge around the trade of data to make an informed decision…  Personal information is a constantly evolving notion with the conversation ever-changing, just consider the change since Snowden’s revelations around US and British Intelligence surveillance of our internet and phone usage.   We’re quick to assume Government is the only powerhouse associated with access and collecting information. Corporate organizations need to harvest and store this information as well to ensure the most insight into us – the consumer.

Read this article published by CBR, they found that 4 in 10 organisations obstruct access to our own data when customers or citizens seek access and clarification on what these organisations know about them.

The article includes and excellent summary from Professor Clive Norris,  who summarised  “We part with our personal data on a daily basis, creating vast and invisible reservoirs of actionable personal information. We do this actively and passively, and our experience of the world is reshaped in ways that we don’t appreciate. We are selectively marketed to, our locations are tracked by CCTV and automated licence plate recognition systems and our online behaviour is monitored, analysed, stored and used. The challenge for all of us is that our information is often kept from us, despite the law and despite our best efforts to access it.”

Do you agree or do you think this is paranoia?



5 reasons to care about your personal information – Monday #1

photo So I was talking to my friend Sara about the sharing of our data and how social networks, browsers, websites collect and use it. She, like myself, is very open to sharing information because she sees the value in tailored advertising and deals. Another brilliant thing about this trade are the auto fill forms that make online shopping a lot easier. Let’s all be honest, we are too lazy to fill out these forms and with these auto fills spending our money is ‘oh’ so much easier.

Sara is a pragmatist, and is among over 50% of the UK population who are open to this arrangement in exchange for convenience and free social networking.   I find myself on the other side of the fence, and feel that I’m not really seeing the value for this exchange. I am bombarded by advertising and much of it has nothing to do with my current lifestyle and interests.

The big question that this conversation gave me was why should we care? People don’t seem to care and I think it’s because it happens in the background and we are barely aware of it which suits our busy lifestyles. To be proactive and manage your own data would take time and effort – I get it – that isn’t appealing. But let’s just pause and take a couple of minutes each day this week to think about why we should care. Here is Monday’s reason #1

I don’t read the Terms and Conditions, do you? Really, be honest with yourself. If you’re like me, your intentions may be in the right place, but you probably get fussed with the length, scroll down to the bottom and click “agree”. I tried reading through a few of them and like a long boring book with small font, thousands of un-inspired words, written in legalese, quite a turnoff really and frankly my time is too important to me. I read the Hewlett Packard privacy statement yesterday and it was 2390 words! If by chance you can be bothered to read through to the end of these terrible mini novels, you may come across this little doozy of a paragraph-

“Circumstances may arise where, whether for strategic or other business reasons, HP decides to sell, buy, merge or otherwise reorganize businesses in some countries. Such a transaction may involve the disclosure of personal information to prospective or actual purchasers, or the receipt of it from sellers”

This is typical, and I at least have some understanding of what happens to my data once it gets out into the ether. It’s sold, shared, aggregated and analyzed several times over. Who it is sold to, the relationship I have with the purchaser and the analysis that is done is completely out of my control.  And I do feel uncomfortable that my data could be tracked and used to encourage me into spending more – I have several weak spots when it comes to spending and I dare I say it I can be easily influenced.  I feel we as individuals ultimately should decide the level of intimacy with which we share our data!  I may want my husband to know my bra size for those special occasions, however, I wouldn’t be pleased if he turned around and shared that information with his mates down the pub.