Last week brought us two stories about data breaches and a third about the potential danger of too much data being stored about consumers via their “smart” home appliances. Plus a 6+ hour global outage for three major social platforms that no one could have missed. Rebecca, our Social Media Manager at Self, offers a peek into what she’s been reading...
Like so many issues facing us when it comes to online interactions, this is an utterly nuanced conversation. Yes, online verification is important for protecting real people from bots, scams, and impersonators. Yes, anonymity is also crucial for vulnerable people, or people who are very privacy-minded. No, it’s not necessarily in social media conglomerates’ best interest to police the content on their platforms. No, that doesn’t mean they should be above retribution when it comes to extremist, hateful, violent-inducing content that has very real-life consequences for their users.
Back in the late 1990s government rows and corruption controversies were often born from suspicious dealings over a pint in dingy pubs near Westminster. Roll forward a quarter of a century and today's sleaze rows centre around Boris ”Two Phones” Johnson and his now ousted advisor, the self-confessed geek, Dominic Cummings. The problem is those phones: what’s on them and what has technology been used to hide?
The lack of standards for consumer online data privacy is evident around the globe. But as the Editorial Board of the New York Times made clear in their article, “America, Your Privacy Settings Are All Wrong”, they are embarrassingly low in the US.
Everything is wrong with the framing of this story. It’s wrong because this is a global health emergency, and we need solutions which are both global and very human. Politicians are arguing over it, governments are scaring privacy and human rights campaigners, all of which risks failing to see the bigger picture.