Ever wonder who is analyzing your personal data? Why you may get targeted by companies you’ve never heard of? California is working to pass a bill that would allow consumers to request copies of the personal data that is stored by a company, and a list of where that information goes. They are calling it the “right to know” campaign, and believe it will allow more transparency in what corporations know about you. This is an interesting step. From the moment you wake, data is gathered on what you do; what website you visit, what pages you like on facebook (thanks for liking us!), even what you buy at the store. That data is then stored, and given out to companies who can use it and learn who you are, where you live and how to access you. Privacy statements aren’t so much of a protection for you, as they’re vague and ever changing. Plus who can read the size 2 font it is written in? Can I have a tally started on who actually reads through privacy statements before they hit “accept?” <!–more–>
California is usually at the front for legislature surrounding consumer protection. Their Online Privacy Protection Act mandates a disclaimer on sites to report the kind of data collected. This law would go a step further and put some awareness and power back in the hands of the user. Individuals would be able to request what data was collected, what was sent, and to whom. The new phenomenon called personal data economy is not often spoken about. There is a whole system designed to store, obtain, and utilize individual’s personal data based on seemingly innocent decisions made throughout the day. Companies could actually trade personal data in a similar way to the stock market. All without the person knowing what is going on. Many other countries work to protect the right of the user, not the company. We have a bit of a way to go for that, America is still situated in a belief that the rights lay with the business, not the consumer. This bill could shed some light on the process, and would be intriguing to see in play.
For our Californian followers, click here to find out more and support the movement. For the rest of us, share the word.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer