I’ve asked myself this question before but, recently with everything that’s been going on in the world of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Personal Opinion Disclaimer

It’s shocking really how quickly we are to give out our personal information.

Now, with the way the online world works. I feel that people should understand that with almost every company we interact with, we’ve openly given them some type of data about us. Arguably the most important part of this is WE CHOOSE to give them our information, they didn’t (in most cases) tricked into giving our personal information for free.

We’ve Been Conditioned Into Using Our Data

Over the past 8–10 years we have been conditioned by companies to use our personal information as gate keys into what they offer. Giving our data away didn’t come easy, it’s been a bit of a struggle for companies to get us to offer them our personal information for a “free service”. One of the first major software’s that comes to mind for me at is email.

In many ways, I think we can agree that some of our information must be given in order to provide a personalized experience, but there is a limit. But to what degree is too much data? After all, over the years we have become so used to giving our data away that what SHOULD be given has been blurred.

Going back to when email first came out we were so excited to use this new software because it allowed us to move away from all the faxing and the phones. More and more of us started creating various email accounts so we were able to connect with friends, family, and business.Down the road, this started to create consumer habits that in order to get access to anything we must provide them with our personal information.

It’s very interesting to see how something that is now considered simple like email. Has given many companies to thrive on our preconditioned habits that gave rise to today’s data behemoths like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and many more.

Why We Shouldn’t Give Our Data Away For Free

Every one of us whether we agree with it or not are giving out data away. Using data as a gateway to the many services we love could be great.

With any technology it will always with come risks, whats bad about giving our data is:

1. It Makes These Companies BIG Targets For Cyber Attacks

Every website you can imagine has more than likely been attacked by hackers or Dangerous AI that actively looks for loopholes in their system. One of the biggest reasons is because every day hundreds of BILLIONS of personal data transactions are being logged on many sites.

This leaves us and the companies we use open or breaches, this alone makes offering our data a massive risk.

After all, do you want to be one of the Millions of people every year that have there personal data stolen?

Example: The Lawsuit on Facebook & Cambridge Analytica, see more on that here

2. You Lose Control Of Who REALLY Has Your Personal Info

Regardless of whether we like it or not. When we chose to give a company our data we immediately lose control of what they REALLY do with it. Now granted many companies have controls to choose what data they actively pull, but you can’t ever completely remove the data or prevent them from tracking everything.

Because of this fact, it is very important for us to really think about what companies we are handing our personal information to so willy-nilly.

Whats Been Great About Using Our Data Access Products/Services

On the plus side using our data to access free products and services gives us access to tons of amazing solutions to our problems. In many ways giving out data has many positive situations where it drastically increases the opportunity for people and companies to connect with each other.

Some great examples that come to mind are:

1. Brings Rise To World Problems

Every country has issues, everyday people are dying because of drugs, violence and even the more nuanced problems that people are just unaware of. Having access to platforms like Facebook & Twitter give Billions of people the opportunity to bring up large issues and underlying causes to find ways others have solved them or are working through them. Without these services, it’s very likely that we would not be able to spread the word to huge issues such as the #MeToo movement and #BlackLivesMatter.

2. Allows Free Speech To Spread Where It Matters Most

The vast majority of people across the world are repressed and unable to express themselves as they should. Using platforms that offer their service for data gives many people a place in the world to connect and keep people connected.

Conclusion

Over the past few years, we all have been affected in some way by us giving out our data to companies. Just a few examples to recap, Targets hack of credit card info, Twitter accounts being hacked and lost of personal data, and just recently Facebook’s lawsuit because of the theft and sale of millions of peoples personal data to a third party company.

So this should at the least beg these questions…

  1. What company can I really trust with my data?
  2. Should we pay for the services we use that are currently “free”
  3. Should these large companies restrict the amount of data they offer to third parties?
  4. What regulations should be in place so my data is better protected?
  5. What can actually be done to protect my self and family from having my data stolen?

So what do you think about our data? Should it be kept more private and what do you think we should do about better protecting our selves online?

Let us know what you think, we would love to get your thoughts below.