The ‘personal data’ illusion: time to opt out

The data century is upon us. Modern technology is now a natural part of our daily lives. We are now reliant on our devices as a primary source of information, with one in five adults spending as much as 40 hours a week on the internet.

Every second we spend plugged into this hypothetical digital matrix, is an opportunity for our personal information to be quantified, stored and measured.

What for?

Well, if you believed your data was used exclusively to customise your online content to better enhance your browsing experience, you would be very naïve.

Personal data can generate useful insights into upcoming trends, help to observe how users interact with new products and most of all, it can help predict future buying behaviour.

Your search engine history, your messages, your posts, your contacts, your work history, your location, your media, your leisurely activities you name it, has been sold to large corporations to be analysed so they can find out what you as a consumer want to invest in.

For large corporations, this information has been coined as the new ‘oil’ of the digital era, as your data is now one of their biggest sources of revenue.

Think about it as the equivalent to a cheat code on a game, how can they possibly lose when you are giving them all of the answers?

Companies are basically creating products and services as a response to trends and insights they have accumulated from your online activity, and they are making trillions!

But these ‘Silicon Valley’ mad scientists are greedy and just like technology once upon a time started with one idea and a formula, now, it is being pumped into the bloodstream of each generation – changing life as we know it since the first invention of the Microsoft computer.

Behind the curtains of illusion lies the dirty truth and the truth is your data has been used as a tool against you, to confuse and delude you into making choices and forcing you into beliefs.

Data science is the new digital formula – once created to improve the services of businesses, now, has developed to monitor and influence human behaviour and change the mindset of targetted groups in countries around the world.

Techies are now lurking in dangerous waters; analysing your personal data to work out how you think, whether you can be easily swayed and what group you identify with. They want to know your triggers, whether you can be misled and once they’ve worked out just who you are, they bombard you with targeted videos, advertisements, images and content until they start to influence the way you think, further having monopoly over the choices of you and your whole country.

Look at Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm on paper, but really a huge criminal data mining enterprise, who illegally harvested over 30 million US citizens personal data, to carry out one of the biggest criminal data led campaigns in history to get Donald Trump in office!

How did they do this you ask?

Easy, they targeted you through Facebook, analysed your online behaviour to create customised adverts, videos, images and content which would cater to you personally, but would also sway your political vote.

They painted Hillary Clinton as a criminal in the eyes of the masses. Painted Trump as the business tycoon and Americas economic saviour, and before you know it, he’s president.

Country to country, they played God by manipulating the masses to make decisions to which they had no idea of the consequences. Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, UK, Kenya, Nigeria, I mean the list goes on.

With more adults using social media as a source of information, it has become even more easier to manipulate decision making, spark racial tension and divide populations around the world?

Look at Facebook, the powerful sinister data brokerage firm, who make a majority of their revenue through the selling of your personal data. They team up with government agencies to spread propaganda and enable discriminatory advertising to be shared on their platform.  

A system once engineered to bring us closer together has single handedly created enough of a divide that we can no longer comprehend what the truth is and what has been manufactured for us to believe.

The ‘user’ accumulating this data has become the victim of their own choices.

Your personal data is gold and you should have the human right to decide how its being used!

Unfortunately, with any commodity, corporations, governments and the latter, are using this information for their own personal gain. Data can create fortunes if it’s exploited in the right way and this should be regulated to avoid the breach of our human rights!

But the introduction of the ‘internet of things’ means your car, your fridge, your watch or TV are now connected to the cloud, generating more data than any application you can opt in or out of. The collection of our data is becoming so seamless, sophisticated and hidden that we are not even given the right to ‘consent’.

Which makes you think what rights do we actually have over our own information?

2 thoughts on “The ‘personal data’ illusion: time to opt out”

  1. AI is one of my favourite topics! I’m definitely a believer of the brainwashing and spying conspiracy theories, however, like you I don’t think there is a single element of free will involved. It’s not realistic to fight it and stay involved in the modern world, unfortunately.


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