‘Caring’ about the Corporate Invasion into Your Personal Life

Dawn Pinkney
4 min readJul 3, 2018

When I was little, what I turned my nose up at, my hobbies, my first boyfriend, where I was at any given time (usually climbing trees and getting stung by stinging nettles) were known by a small group of people. I grew up in a time where I had more freedom and recording of my personal life just wasn’t normal and out right intrusive. If the current situation of personal data collection had been presented back then, it would be a future most would not want to live in.

When I type queries into a search engine, they are reflective of my inner self. What I’m wondering about, problems I may be facing, good times I’m having, aspirations I have for next steps in life. I use email and instant messaging to out-pour what is going on in my life with family and friends, social medial to interact with friends I’m not as close to and apps for many different uses. This doesn’t even begin to go into the growing dangers with monitoring devices such as voice-controlled assistants, drones and the dark world of surveillance. I take measures to limit what personal data I give away but its damn hard in world where most don’t seem to care about the invasion of privacy and I’m going against the grain to achieve this.

The big data companies know more about the ‘details’ of my life than my mum does.

How comfortable would you feel offering up this information when meeting new people? “Hey nice to meet you, my name is Dawn Pinkney, I live at X XXXXX, SF, CA, my email is XX@X, my DOB is XX/XX/XXXX I’m panicking about aging and spending hours researching natural anti-aging methods, I didn’t message these friends when they had a birthday so I guess they’re not really my friends even if I refer to them as friends, I’m learning about colonoscopies right now because someone I know is having one, I think I drink too much, I’m not sure if I’ll ever meet a partner at my age but regardless I would like to meet a man between the ages of 35–50 any race as long as he’s not too short and not too religious, I watched 7 seasons of Made in Chelsea and spent X$ at Wholefoods last month in addition to only 20% of my time outside of my apartment. How embarrassing.”

People often struggle to live in small towns because so much detail is known of their lives. So why is it acceptable to give so much personal information to big central data companies? And on behalf of your children?

Do you really know what is going to happen with these details? What the company security practices are, how they analyze your data to define new initiatives to exploit you and other users by filtering information, using their services more and spending more money? How your data will be shared with another company and therefore consolidated? Do you want to be typecast and put into a box you may not even agree defines you? Do you know how much these companies gain financially and what personal data is worth?

But I’m not doing anything wrong, it doesn’t really matter if companies know this about me, I hope they enjoy my boring life. Besides I might look suspicious if I try to keep my personal life personal.

“Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like arguing that you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. “ — Edward Snowden

The internet is controlled by the big data companies. Just because you are the ‘user’ of a provided service, this does not mean you should have to give up your rights to freedom. It’s the norm now, and that’s why we need to change it with the help of Blockchain.

Blockchain is a fairly new technology. It is decentralized and owned by ‘everyone’. It is disruptive to big central data giants and there are innovators using it to create a better world where you can take back control of your personal data, such as Microsoft Identity Division. However, Blockchain is a rapidly growing technology with many new Blockchain companies forming every week, so things can get quickly out of hand with adding another recording layer on top of our current rat’s nest of data collection complexity. Which is why its important to ‘care’ about this and ‘know’ about this.

It’s also important to recognize the value of your personal information. Not just to yourself but also for the financial gain by these big central data giants — the data you input is used to grow and monetize their services which increases the company value, expanding to more users, creating new products, charging higher prices for advertising and selling your data or access to it, to other companies.

There are new products on the market and in development that pay you for the personal information you give them. Steemit is a social platform that rewards you for input. HATs is an ICO analysis service that will reward you for input. Orchid is offering decentralized, secure and private browsing, with incentives for input.

Years from now our ancestors will look back in disbelief at us giving away so much personal data, just like we look back on smoking and giving rum to babies. We just need to be more aware this doesn’t have to be the norm. We can start limiting what we give away, moving to more private services or ones paying for input, but more importantly we need to have a voice about it not being right!

So please ‘care’ about and ‘value’ your personal data. We the users create the demand, so let’s demand a more private personal life!

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Dawn Pinkney

20+ years producing great video games. COO of OkLetsPlay, a head-to-head cash matches eSports platform https://okletsplay.com/