Gadget Man - Episode 108 - Why we should care about what our data is used for?

Gadget Man – Episode 108 – Why we should care about what our data is used for?

Facebook MobileFollowing on from the ongoing  Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, I was invited to be a guest on James Hazell’s show on BBC Radio Suffolk. We talked in depth about how social networks and apps are using our data.

Please listen in by clicking the ‘play’ button above. Don’t forget to Like, Subscribe, Comment and Share.

Throughout history, we have fought to gain our rights, the right to marry who we choose, the right for women to vote and the right to privacy.

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “No one must be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.”

Don’t confuse privacy with secrecy, we do things behind locked doors because we want privacy, we don’t do them for secrecy, everyone knows what bathrooms are for!

We should however be very careful when using social media,because some apps might well be fun, but to what end are we giving away our privacy in return for entertainment?

For instance, there are slews of apps on Facebook at the moment that pretend to illustrate how you might look in 50 years time, how you might look like if you were a film star or a female etc etc etc.

These kinds of apps are invariably great fun to use, but in order to run them, you may be required to relinquish your personal data within your Facebook profile. The most obvious being your name, your personal data and photos.

Data Centre Storing Your Data
Data Centre Storing Your Data

In order to manipulate your image, the apps need access to all your photos. They may ask to access your friends list because they will want to share the resulting image with your friends and family. You may even be asked to authorised these apps to access an even greater amount of information in your profile.

So, you have now handed over Your name, possibly your birthdate, your photos and your friends to a company that you trust. You have literally only JUST become aware of them, bit you now trust them to use that information to provide you with a funny photo. Worse still,  you have in fact volunteered all your personal information to a stranger who may decide to sell that information to absolutely anyone!

Your geographic position can be read and used, which is what the current data scandal relates to, you can then be targeted by advertising specifically to your latitude and longitude. So if a political candidate in your constituency wants to promote themself directly to you, they can or indeed use it to smear their competition.

Social Networks want you to give up ALL of your privacy, because that information is priceless to the highest bidder

Social Network AppsFor example, a Wedding Cake company wants to target people getting married in the next 6 months in Suffolk who are financially affluent. They can do this using a Facebook boost, because Facebook is flooded with people who have posted that they are getting married and thus they can be directly advertised to and they have given complete permission for this to happen.

So, if you are concerned about how your personal data is being used in the social network space, you should immediately check your settings, remove apps you don’t recognise and be far more careful in the future.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

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