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Hand It Over: Your Data And Your Life.

People have been aware for a while of data mining when using free applications with marketing and advertising companies targeting users with tempting offers trolled from people’s own data usage.

However the passing of 50 million plus Facebook accounts to Cambridge Analytica has really brought home the extent of how millions of people’s data are valuable to other organisations to use and manipulate in ways that were not envisaged beforehand. Cambridge Analytica has now collapsed with questions being asked by a panel of MPs to the former CEO.

Some prominent figures such as entrepreneur Elon Musk publicly deleted his Facebook account with others following his example. Facebook shares fell sharply through this social-media storm. Since the revelations and political grilling of CEO Mark Zuckerberg the shares have now recovered on the back of strong advertising revenues from sub $160 back to $189 approximately.

It does suggest that many people who use fee applications are accepting of their fate that their personal data will be harvested. Then with targeted advertising the same people will be sold goods and services derived from the information gathered on mass from them about their wants and aspirations. Companies like Facebook or internet search and application providers are most certainly the new titans of the age and beneficiaries of our freely given time, preferences and habits.

It’s a new version of the company store or indeed indentured labour from past civilisations. First developed agriculture, then industrial and now in the C.21st digital exploitation of the masses usually by tiny elite of well-placed entrepreneurs who always seem to appear and fight for dominance at each stage of civilisation (think of Carnegie and Rockerfeller in the C.19th-20th). While in the C.21st the rest of us are sitting in the pub, or park or at dinner parties chatting and wondering about being replaced by robots and algorithms. Then by posting our photos of the evening’s events on Facebook, or ordering a pizza or taking an Uber home now knowingly add to their power and wealth.

Let’s hope that new jobs and prosperity do materialise as previous technological change has brought however people working on mass for free does have an unnerving edge regardless of the new General Data Protection Regulations now in force in the UK.

Even without a socialist viewpoint it’s notable that a warning has been given about what is happening to everyone when venturing online- personal privacy? It’s definitely data and your life. Enjoy those free apps.

LDC.

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