The case for data privacy

When re-designing this blog, GPDR has been the major reason for this. However, I have been thinking about data privacy for quite a while now. Mainly due to the fact, that in my previous job defining analytics strategies for finance organization occupied significant parts of my time, and I realized the power that comes with data.

Any action causes data points, and though one might not capture the content of a post for example, its tags, timing, title etc. reveal enough information. Especially in case different data sets are combined this becomes really powerful. My pledge here is not to speak against data collection – it is necessary for many services or to improve these – but it should be an educated decision. Many users of PCs and mobile devices are not aware of the amount of data being collected.

During my reflection about the above mentioned topics, I realized that I had opened pandora’s box for my data when I switched from Apple to an Android driven smartphone. In the past I had deliberately separated data sets: Amazon for shopping and music, duckduckgo for search, facebook for social media incl. messaging and Google for YouTube and maps. Around two years back I wasn’t willing anymore to pay the premium necessary for Apple, without factoring in the data privacy aspect. My daily driver has been an OnePlus 5 – an incredible phone for a stunning price. Unfortunately driven by Android and from a Chinese company. Not the most ideal combination for data privacy (though I had turned off location services, continued to use duckduckgo etc.).

Once I looked into voice assistants, it became apparent what amount of access Google requires. And I was not willing to grant this. Moreover, I wanted to use Smartwatches more intensively to manage my health and was concerned with what happens to this data. In the end, I ended up with Apple again, knowing they collect data as well and the devices are overpriced. Differential privacy, on-device AI and security enclave are differentiators though. It was a price I was willing to pay – and I opted for an old iPhone SE and the cheapest iPad.

TL;DR: Be aware of data collection procedures, do not trust the big tech companies, try to use alternative services and make an educated decision how you deal with your data. 

Good sources to deep dive: