An IT Security expert, Vinny Troia of Night Lion Security has revealed that personal information of almost 1.2 Billion users has been compromised by exposure. This data has been left unprotected on a Google Cloud server. These data may have originated from two different ‘Data Enrichment’ Companies. People Data Labs (PDL) and OxyData.Io (OXY). Innocent consumers may part with just their e-mail ids to a Marketer. But marketers may leverage Data Enrichment to know much more about the consumer than he or she may like to share. Now personal data left without protection on a cloud server means it is potentially available for anyone to exploit, not just Marketers who may pay for it. In the wrong hands it can injure the well-being of individuals and communities. An individual’s basic Right to Privacy is anyway compromised.
Servers may not necessarily Save Ours (Data)
We assume our data (including surfing patterns) is our own and it is safe. We may have some knowledge that our data is being used by Technology Service Providers (for genuine software related purposes as claimed by them). A few of us may even be aware of other entities whose business models is to ‘scrap’ and garner more detailed information about users online. Those agitated by this may even get more bellicose when these entities call themselves ‘Data Enrichment Companies'(DECs).
Terabyte Trove – Data, the new Treasure
Searching for hidden or lost treasures of gold and precious gems is passe. Data is the new wealth. The Indian concept of Anna-dhatha takes a new connotation. Annam (food) is no longer analog. It is increasingly digital. And the Dhatha (Provider), is increasingly Data. Thus it is no surprise that DECs desire Data Dumps. The average person may baulk at these mountains (even if not in machine language). But the DEC’s raison d’être is mining these treasure troves, sorry terabyte troves.
Communication/ Adherence to Users’ Data Rights – Businesses’ Responsibilty?
Today, not all businesses may feel the need to be pro-actively transparent about their stand on Consumers’/ Customers’/ Users’. But laws will gradually ensure the rights of users are not violated. We already see the European Union authorities piling on the pressure on technology giants on some issue or the other.
What are your thoughts on DECs/ Data Mining? Do you feel the current Laws are sufficient to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-driven economy? Do you feel Businesses leverage DECs and (grey areas in) the law to know more about customers without their knowledge? Do you feel Customers will trust those Brands/ Service Providers better which are pro-actively transparent (in the absence of clear laws) and have a clear policy which is communicated to all stakeholders? We would love to know….