Eletiofe Now Isn’t the Time to Give Users Control of...

Now Isn’t the Time to Give Users Control of Their Data

-

- Advertisment -

The testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen sparked the latest flare-up in a never-ending series of revelations on how companies and governments mine and commercialize our personal data. In an attempt to put consumers back in the driver’s seat, recent updates to data protection regulations such as the GDPR in the European Union and the CCPA in California have mandated transparency and control as critical pillars of privacy protection. In the words of the European Commission: “It’s your data—take control!”

Empowering consumers by giving them a say is a noble goal that certainly has a lot of appeal. Yet, in the current data ecosystem, control is far less of a right than it is a responsibility—one that most of us are not equipped to take on. Even if our brains were to magically catch up with the rapidly changing technology landscape, protecting and managing one’s personal data would still be a full-time job.

Think of it this way: Being in charge of your sailing boat is absolutely wonderful if you are drifting along the Mediterranean coast on a beautiful day. You can decide which of the many cute little towns to steer toward, and there are really no wrong choices. Now let’s imagine being in charge of the same sailing boat in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. You have no idea which direction to go in, and none of your options seem particularly promising. Having the “right” to control your own ship under these circumstances might not be very appealing, and could very easily end in disaster.

And yet, that’s exactly what we do: Current regulations drop people in the middle of a raging technology sea and bless them with the right to control their personal data. Instead of forcing the tech industry to make systemic changes that would create a safer and more amenable ecosystem, we put the burden of safeguarding personal data on consumers. Taking this step is protecting the creators of the storm more than the sailors.

For users to be able to exercise control over their personal data successfully, regulators need to first create the right environment that guarantees basic protection, in the same way the Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the investment world and protects individuals from making bad decisions. Under the proper conditions, individuals can choose among a series of desirable outcomes, rather than a mix of undesirable ones. In other words, we first need to tame the sea before handing individuals more control over their boats. There are a few steps that regulators can take immediately to calm the waters.

First, we need to make it costly for companies to collect and use personal data by taxing companies for the data they collect. If they have to pay a price for every piece of data they gather, they will think twice about whether they really need it.

Regulators also need to mandate that defaults are set to sufficient levels of protection. Users’ data should be guarded unless they choose otherwise, a concept termed “privacy by design”. Nobody has time to make privacy protecting their full-time job. Safeguarding information needs to be easy. Privacy by design reduces the friction on the path to privacy, and guarantees that basic rights are automatically protected.

Latest news

Gbajabiamila cautions Nigerians against fake news

The Speaker says citizens all over have become broadcasters and publishers capable of influencing the opinions of many from...

Turn To Your Neighbour And Say, Are Classic Hypnotic Spells Used By Pastors – Reno Omokri

Former Presidential aide and author, Reno Omokri took to Instagram to state teach Christians on hypnotic tactics used by...

Obasanjo reacts to death of former Senate President Wayas

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that the late Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas, lived for the welfare and...

IGP says only 10% of 350,000 police officers have proper accommodation

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr Usman Baba, says the Nigeria Police Force is facing gross housing deficit...
- Advertisement -

Ex-Senate President Wayas dies at 80, Saraki mourns

Wayas was a member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly between 1977 and 1978. ...

Russia’s Putin optimistic of Nigeria’s support for 2022 summit

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has expressed great optimism for Nigeria’s support in hosting the 2022 edition of the...

Must read

Gbajabiamila cautions Nigerians against fake news

The Speaker says citizens all over have become broadcasters...

Turn To Your Neighbour And Say, Are Classic Hypnotic Spells Used By Pastors – Reno Omokri

Former Presidential aide and author, Reno Omokri took to...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you