Being a citizen in a digital world means using an increasing number of services in our daily lives. Online banking, passport applications, email accounts, twitter and other social media accounts, an account for google so we can store our favourite locations in Google Maps and backup our phones app data, accounts for our fitness tracker and for amazon. The above represent a small number of the services which we may be using. Our students may be using even more services including music and video streaming services, Instagram, Snapchat and a multitude of other services which I doubt I could identify or name. And as our use of technology increases we enroll in ever more services including services relating to our home assistant and our home control systems among others that are yet to be invented.
But who has our data and does it really matter?
In thinking about this I remember back to a student I met in the late 90’s. Using some basic information about me, his teacher or lecturer as I was then, he was able to tell me where my home address was and basic information about my immediate family. He was even able to provide a basic route map from the college where I worked back to my family home all based on a couple of basic facts and a couple of online web services. This immediately took me into a lesson on the risk associated with the internet and also on ethics relating to publicizing of data and also deciding on how it should be used.
That was almost 20 years ago, when the amount of data which was on the internet about individuals was significant less than it is now. When our ability to search through, sort and sift through data was less than it is now.
So if that was possible 20 years ago what might be possible now and also what might be possible in the near future?
Should we sign up and provide ever more data to online services or do we need to stop and take stock of who has our data and the why?