“I believe data is the new oil,” F-Secure’s chief research officer Mikko Hypponen says. “And just like oil brought us both prosperity and problems, data will bring us prosperity, and problems.”
We’re just beginning to understand how so-called “big data” is changing everything, even medical care.
A new report from the Century Foundation reveals how the private information we share with practitioners gets anonymized and then mined. That information combined with metrics from search engines and wearables can then be melded for “predicative analysis” which is able to project behavior with “a surprising degree of accuracy,” despite laws meant to protect medical privacy. Presumably these learnings could be used to make us healthier but they could also be used to deny us treatments or insurance coverage.
And while we worry about government surveillance, many of us voluntarily share our thoughts, pictures and intimate details about our lives with Facebook, which then purchases more information about us from third-parties to make sure the ads we see are even more effective.
Mikko has noted that Twitter connects our offline data to our profiles through our phone number. So when you share your mobile number for a proactive reason, such as activating two-factor authentication or account recovery, we’re also feeding the data beast to make ourselves even more profitable to the sites we use.
And then there’s Internet of Things, which is coming into your home whether you like it or not.
“You will buy whole appliances and you won’t even know they are IoT appliances. I mean, you go and buy a toaster and there is an IoT feature… Why would you even need IoT features in a goddamn toaster?” Mikko asks. “But it’s going to be online anyway. Why? Because it’s going to be so cheap to put it online. And the benefits it creates are not benefits for you, the consumer, they’re benefits for the manufacturer. Because now they can collect analytics.”
This is why they are offering a special Data Privacy Day offer — 50 percent off a year of Freedome’s award-winning privacy protection. (By the way, you can try our award-winning Freedome VPN for free) .
Data. On one hand, prosperity and opportunity. On the other, problems and problems we haven’t yet imagined. That’s why controlling our personal information matters more than ever.
Data Privacy Day — held annually on 28 January — is an international effort to get people around the globe to think about the importance of controlling what we share.
To mark the day, Mikko did a Reddit AMA where hundreds of people asked him anything.
You can also read Mikko’s recent Q&A session on Quora and feast on this playlist of dozens of talks and interviews he’s given: