Many people are aware of how data from different social media applications, professional networks, popular messaging tools, emails and internet search engines are (mis)used. Rarely cases such as Cambridge Analytica are exposed.
Cambridge Analytica has collected and processed data on millions Facebook users, without their consent, to create their psychological profiles and influence their behaviour during the last USA presidential elections.
This is just one of the examples.
Data of a single user has little power to influence society’s behaviour. But, when combined with data of millions of other users and fused together with data of different internet platforms, e.g., social media, professional networks, emails, messaging and video-call tools, it becomes an increasingly powerful tool to influence people’s behaviour.
Algorithms are often biased, unfair, and on a mission to influence our behaviour. They are in charge of what you see in Facebook news feeds or in Google search results. They have the power to influence our behaviour by the type of information they serve us. The more we feed them, the more powerful they are.
Objectively understanding data and data insights, and how AI algorithms behind different systems can influence our decision-making, is important.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU does not enable users to opt-out from the unnecessary data collection and processing operations. GDPR also does not give users full ownership over their data. The power of monetising our online data remains in the hands of those who collect it.