When anthropologists try to understand an ancient culture, let’s say the Greeks, they look at the physical artifacts left behind—the tools, the utensils, etc. and try to infer insights into the prior the culture and civilization. However, this will not be a problem for those that follow us in 5,000 years because we will have left behind more than physical artifacts, we left behind digital artifacts.
Often called ‘digital exhaust’, the artifacts of our generation can be found everywhere. They go from birth through death. Even the so called ‘Internet of Everything’ is really data about us and how we interact with connected devices. And digital exhaust is created as the Book of Ruth said ‘wherever you go’. While I may not care when future generations peer into my digital exhaust, I care when people do it today. For this reason, we should ask about who should have the right to view our data or when they should have the privilege to do so.
I do not know about you, but I am personally amazed when I call my bank to do a password reset about how much they know me—in particular, how many pieces of digital data they have collected about me. So it begs the question, who should have the right to view my (your) data. Because as recent hacks have proven, your and my non-public data matters.
While in the US the right to data privacy has largely been inferred, it is becoming much more codified around the world. For those that do not know US Courts created our ‘right to privacy’ in order to deal with wiretapping. Europe’s GDPR is much more prescriptive. I want to suggest, however, that all of us have a right to privacy even for bits of digital information that we have shared directly or inadvertently with our Internet Service Provider, Bank, Retailer and the list goes on. #MyDataMatters and I do not want it released or shared inappropriately.
Now let me be clear, it is to my benefit that organizations try to develop a single view of me. Companies like Nordstrom, for example, use the insight gained to discover what I like and to help me find the perfect shirt, slacks, and tie combination when I come in. I value this usage of my data but I do not want this information released to others. Privacy is not dead when I share it with a relationship. According to Michelle Dennedy, personal information is an asset that should be protected by privacy rules, processes, and technologies. And because my data matters, I expect my data privacy is being protected by my merchant and business relationships and as important, is only being used for purposes that Michelle describes as “authorized, fair, and legitimate”. This means that it is only shared where someone only has appropriate privilege. Here is a great example. I learned the other day from my Uber driver that Uber allows him to call me for a fixed amount a time after the ride, but they do not provide him with my phone number or other identifiers. This protects me and the driver.
Tell us why your data matters to you personally or professionally. This is easy to do. Tweet @Protegrity #MyDataMatters and tell us why. The winner of the best tweet for the week for the next 9 weeks will win a #MyDataMatters tee shirt.