That’s the message from internet companies to consumers, who effectively donate their mail, history, locations, photos and, well, life stories for use by others. Consumers have the illusion it belongs to them but ownership implies control, and increasingly we are reminded how people don’t necessarily have control over those data. And that’s the essence of the WAPO story today, describing where data often go over time.
Companies that are sold at auction treat your data as one of the assets to be transformed into capital. The article reminds us of several examples. Over time, photos once stored as “yours” on flickr became property of yahoo and thus used for targeted advertising. Data stored in the ‘cloud’ may be convenient for you, but that cloud may vaporize when the company hosting it has mined it out. And more.
That’s the commercial side of where your data go. As you see from the theme of other articles carried here, there are other, often darker, uses of your data having far more dramatic impact on your life.