THINKING LIKE A CITIZEN: CONTROL, VALUE AND THE PROBLEM WITH BIG DATA

Hope all of you have had the opportunity to listen to the lecture and process it. Several aspects of the lecture is what I want to bring back here up for a discussion.

1. Early in the lecture I create the three expressions often individual-, the consumer, the worker and the citizen. Your response to this categorization and do you feel that the subject position of a consumer or a worker, especially the former, very often overwhelms or even suppresses the expression of the individual as a citizen?

2. Our data creates endless value as it enters multiple other products. Right now such value is privatized by those who extract the data. The continuous production of value from our data can be resolved if there is a technology dividend – – a use-surcharge that every company that collects and stores data has to put into a public fund. This fund could then be used to support anything from education to public health of the citizens. Your responses.

3. Involuntary data and inference data both have a little bit of a mystical character because we don’t know what involuntary data a company is capturing about us or what kind of inference data it is generating based on the involuntary data it captures. A regulatory framework must simply disallow the creation of inference data or at the minimum put limits on its use and trade. Your responses.

37 thoughts on “THINKING LIKE A CITIZEN: CONTROL, VALUE AND THE PROBLEM WITH BIG DATA

  1. I agree that often our views are limited by how our immediate needs are affected. You make a good example when you mentioned that the burden of debt and responsibilities narrow our views and our opinions. However, this is a reality that is no easily discarded. I feel as you mentioned that information and learning to look the beyond our immediate surroundings will transform us from the consumer or worker mindset to that of a world citizen.

    When it comes to data rights, I am torn between the fact that’s its my data and I want to control it and the fact that I am willingly trading my data to use a service. I think your suggestion of a surcharge for data usage is reasonable. The same logic applies when a company licenses out their product. However, I do agree with the creation of regulation and taxation of data usage. The fund idea is a good idea however I am hesitant of another major fund like social security to come in existence. My hesitation derives from the understanding that this fun could be misappropriated from benefit the individual to be earmarked for special projects based on political needs at the time.

    Lastly, I am against involuntary data collection and usage. As you mentioned there are things that people do not like to share and with today computing power and highly intelligent algorithms each one of us is turning into a commodity for the Big 4 to sell. These type of data needs to be strictly regulated. We all need to have the ability to delete what we do not want to share, and set the price if we are willing to let the company use it.

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    1. Hi Ervis, I agreed with pretty much everything you stated here. I also stated that a surcharge for data can be a good alternative, but your points about the hesitancy with another fund for the public definitely do make sense. These can be taken advantage of or used improperly. I also stated how I disagree with the collection of involuntary data. This should be regulated and left for us to decide.

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    2. Hi Ervis,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Reading Jared’s comment to your post made me think if there is already a surcharge for that sort of thing. There are charges for everything and hidden fees everywhere. Just like in terms of unlimited data, it isn’t exactly unlimited, after a certain amount of usage a month your internet speeds go down because companies will never want us customers to actually have what we would hope to be what we signed up for. As for the data sharing, it is so hard for us to even select what we want shared and what we don’t want shared because it is 1) hard to understand how it is actually being used and 2) often times websites and companies don’t explicitly say how they are using our data. I do believe that there needs to be more data regulation on these efforts and that there needs to be a better explanation of how our data is being used.

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    3. Hi Ervis, after reading your post I found many interesting things about it. For instance, one thing that caught my attention is your statement that “often our views are limited by how our immediate needs are affected”. I believe this to be extremely true as an individual we try to avoid what will not benefit us and sometimes we do not think about the whole picture because at the moment we just care about our immediate needs. This can be seen in society as if you ask someone about racism they will most likely say it is not acceptable however when you tell that same person that reparations are needed and they will be more on the fence and then when you tell them that those reparation’s might incur a higher tax then they might oppose it because their financial needs are being affected. This can be seen all the time with corporations that advocate for sustainability and a better world however they use factories that contribute to the problem and when told to do something that will affect their profits they are not as strong advocate any more.

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    4. Hi Ervis,

      Great post! I am in complete agreement with your response to the first statement. I would like to add that social media has also played a critical role in the narrowing of one’s views and opinions by creating an echo chamber in which people’s own biases are affirmed by those like-minded individuals around them. Additionally, turning a consumer or worker mindset into that of a world citizen requires time, which many who are in these mindsets do not have, because they are trying to survive and get their needs met.

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  2. The categorization presented in the lecture portrays an interesting view on how an individual has different expressions and the implications these expressions have on the individual’s life such as the conflicts it brings to the individual. I found this conflict to be really interesting as a person can have a stance as a citizen that clashes with the worker. For examples as mentioned in the lecture in the expression of a citizen the individual might be concurrent with the effects of global warming however in the expression as a worker that labors in a factory the contributes to global warming they do not have much of a say they just cannot stop working which demonstrates hoe these expression can overwhelm and suppress the expression of the individual as a citizen as they work in areas that are against their beliefs. Many citizens are against the capitalist mindset however we live in a capitalist society thus we have to comply with the exploitation this comes with and there is not much the individual as a citizen can do they cannot just stop working as they need means to survive.
    The value we as a society have created for companies in the last decade with our data has benefited only a couple of the elite as they privatize data and make billions of dollars with it. I believe this should not be like this and I agree with the preposition of a technology divided as it gives back to the society that has helped these companies grow more and more powerful throughout the years thus, I believe this is the least they can do in order to help,
    Moreover, involuntary and interference data can be harmful since we are not sure what data is being captured thus this should be highly regulated as it is benefiting the big data titans. Thus the regulations should put a limit on the practices these companies have when it comes to the use and trade of this data as it can be harmful. Here I leave a video on dangers of big tech.

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    1. Samuel,

      You make some good points. Often it is hard to rise above the immediate needs. For example now that the gas prices are so high everyone is pushing for more oil . However as a global citizen if we were to take a high level view on how fossil fuel affects our planet, maybe less oil its not a bad thing after all.

      From this prospective taking the view of the citizen as compared to the worker its often difficult and requires that the person truly understands the global issues and how everyday actions affect it.

      Back to the point of data and how they are collected. While as it was mentioned in the lecture, people might consider their data collection as incongruently, it actually is incredibly important to address it. However to ensure that the individual understands how their data can be abused, more education is needed. Awareness of how data is abused need to became front and center and proper political pressure needs to be applied.

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    2. Hi Samuel, I enjoyed reading your response. Your video was great to support the fact that these large companies should not be taking our data involuntarily. There needs to be regulations in place to prevent this. I also liked your idea about the divided technology as it could provide back to society.

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    3. Hi Samuel,
      Great post! Thank you for the additional research of the video. I agree that companies should only collect data under consumers’ awareness. However, data inference allowed the company to build a product based on the consumer’s need and did help improve the quality of our lives.
      Thank you,
      Cici Ouyang

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  3. There is growing consensus that with big data comes great opportunity, but also great risk.
    Targeting based on vulnerability:
    With big data comes new ways to socially sort with increasing precision. By combining multiple forms of data sets, a lot can be learned. This has been called “algorithmic profiling” and raises concerns about how little people know about how their data is collected as they search, communicate, buy, visit sites, travel, and so on.
    Discrimination (Consumer point strand):
    As corporations, government bodies and others make use of big data, it is key to know that discrimination can and is happening both unintentionally and intentionally. New uses of big data may negatively influence people’s abilities get housing or insurance or to access education or get a job. A 2017 investigation by ProPublica and Consumer Reports showed that minority neighborhoods pay more for car insurance than white neighborhoods with the same risk levels. how big data processes make it easier to target particular groups and discriminate against them. And there are numerous reports of facial recognition systems that have problems identifying people who are not white.
    Political manipulation and social harm:
    Fake news, bots and filter bubbles have been in the news a lot lately. They can lead to social and political harm as the information that informs citizens is manipulated, potentially leading to misinformation and undermining democratic and political processes as well as social well-being
    Workers :
    Data and system errors
    Big data blacklisting and watch-lists in the US have wrongfully identified individuals. It has been found that being wrongfully identified in this case can negatively affect employment, ability to travel and in some cases lead to wrongful detention and deportation. In Australia, for example, there have been investigations into the government’s automated debt recovery system after numerous complaints of errors and unfair targeting of vulnerable people. And American academic Virginia Eubanks has detailed the system failures that devastated the lives of many in Indiana, Florida and Texas at great cost to taxpayers. The automated system errors led to people losing access to their Medicaid, food stamps and benefits.
    All in all what we need is the public pressure and the political will and effort to ensure Researchers, civil society organizations, government bodies and activists have all, in different ways, identified the need for greater transparency, accountability, systems of oversight and due process, and the means for citizens to interrogate and intervene in the big data processes that affect them.

    Inferences in the form of assumptions or predictions about future behavior are often privacy-invasive, sometimes counterintuitive and, in any case, cannot be verified at the time of decision-making. These facts suggest that the greatest risks of Big Data analytics do not stem solely from how input data (name, age, email address) is used. Rather, it is the inferences that are drawn about us from the collected data, which determine how we, as data subjects, are being viewed and evaluated by third parties, that pose the greatest risk. It follows that protections designed to provide oversight and control over how data is collected and processed are not enough; rather, individuals require meaningful protection against not only the inputs, but the outputs of data processing.
    In May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, intended to update data protection standards across the EU. The new framework and the caselaw of the European Court of Justice nonetheless appear to provide little protection against the novel risks of inferential analytics. Compared to other types of personal data, inferences are effectively ‘economy class’ personal data. Ironically, inferences receive the least protection of all the types of data addressed in data protection law and relevant jurisprudence, and yet now pose perhaps the greatest risks in terms of privacy and discrimination. As it was necessary to create a ‘right to be forgotten’ in a big data world, we believe it is now necessary to create a ‘right of how to be seen’ in the age of Big Data and AI. This will help us seize the full potential of these technologies, while providing sufficient legal protection for the fundamental rights and interests of individuals.

    https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/business-law-blog/blog/2018/10/right-reasonable-inferences-re-thinking-data-protection-law-age-big

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    1. Hello. I found your information to be very substantial in supporting your arguments. You provided a lot of news and facts in order to show how these points are accurate. It is interesting to see how that framework from 2019 provided barely any protection against the analytics risks. I did not know that inferences received the least amount of protection, but it is interesting to find out that they also have the highest rate of risk. Hopefully, like you said, the “right to be seen” can allow for the technology potential to be fully utilized.

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  4. You make some very good points about how the individual need to be protected not only from the gathering of data but also how that data is used. I am for individuals controlling how their data is used. If someone decides to sell their data ( allow their data to be sold for compensation) then they should be able to do it.. A universal system that is shared across companies is needed to ensure compliance.

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  5. I think the role of a consumer can definitely become greater than that of a citizen. Consumers drive the market, as their demand shows what needs to be offered and allows companies and workers to price them accordingly. Being a consumer brings life and decisions to the market, and plays a bigger role than the citizen position. I think in some ways it can suppress the citizen expression, as the consumer position might have bigger results than that of a citizen.

    I feel that the second point, about the company surcharge for data, could be an interesting step in the direction of utilizing data. Obviously, our data is used and manipulated everyday by companies, and many times it is for free. In one of the recent discussions, we mentioned how these companies that are larger should pay for data, whereas smaller ones should not, so that they can also compete. I felt in some ways this was unfair, as even though the larger companies had more control, there should be an equal playing field. This new point, though, can bring a possible resolution, as having companies pay for data contributed to a general fund could really make things equal.

    I agree that involuntary data should not be taken without permission, or for a price. This private information can be harmful or allow too great of an advantage for bigger companies, and having this data traded and sold can result in very negative consequences. We certainly should have the ability to choose what is shared, not to just have it taken. A framework could be carefully created and set in place, although I would imagine many of these companies would not agree with it.

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    1. Hello Jared, great post. I really enjoyed reading your answer to the third question as I agree that involuntary data can be harmful and it allows for big corporations to benefit from individuals without paying a price. For example lets take Google Nest a home security device that takes information from individual’s homes and when an individual does not agree with the terms and conditions the functionality of the device diminishes this shows the greediness of such companies as they know they make billions of dollars from this private information they steal.

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    2. Hey Jared,

      I agree with you that there should be a regulatory framework in place to prevent companies from stealing user data fore monetization purposes. Consumers have a right to keep what they want private (as long as they are not breaking any federal or state statutes). A move to the regulation of data by the U.S. federal government similar to Europe’s GDPR laws would allow for more consumers to have greater freedoms searching the Internet without feeling like they are being surveilled or tracked every second of the day. In my own opinion, we need to adapt these laws as quickly as possible before the next Facebook or Google controversy leads to more disastrous consequences in our greater society.

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  6. 1) Consumer can become greater than that of a citizen. The reason why is because consumer opinion or needs help drive any market.This can help a company add changes to a product or service, change prices based on consumer feedback, and influence the business objectives companies have towards consumers. Companies don’t change things around based on being a citizen, they changed based on if you are a consumer of the product or service the company provides.I believe the consumer has a bigger impact than a citizen in the future.

    2) Introducing a company surcharge is a possible solution for the storing and value of data. Our data does change everyday and its the responsibility of the company to act on the timeline the data presents. This can make small companies be able to have access to data massive companies are paying towards. The massive data companies can put the money in a fund for a better cause.

    3) I agree that any set of data should not be taken without permission. The data could be very private and sensitive information that you don’t want other companies to find out about. Companies selling and trading this information will do whatever it can to turn a profit and would negatively impact you based on advertisements or strategies they have in place. Choosing what you want other companies to store would be more convenient but we don’t get to control it. If a framework were to be put in place, companies would vote against it since it would sabotage their business strategies.

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  7. 1. While I think the three categorizations, Consumer, Worker, and Citizen, are broad, they do capture the population well. I think it is also not uncommon to find ourselves in multiple of these categories at any one time. With that said, I feel as if the Consumer category holds the most influence, especially over that of the Citizen. The consumer controls how the markets and companies around us operate as they act in accordance to the consumer’s wants and needs. Companies also have to be aware that preferences are constantly adjusting and must continually try to keep up with the public and ensure they’re capturing as many consumers as possible. Ultimately, it is the consumer’s preferences that determine which services and items are available to us at any time.

    2. This idea of a data surcharge is similar to Morozov’s proposition earlier in the week. Morozov presented the idea of a data marketplace, where companies would need to pay a premium in order to access and study user information. The data surcharge is similar in that data is the main focus, but instead of companies spending they are instead giving back to the public. I think it could be a positive idea, especially with how we have become so accustomed to our data being taken from us. As Zuboff pointed out earlier this week, society has just accepted that our data is not safe, adopting a social norm to it and how companies manipulate our data, and this could prove hazardous in the future. With the surcharge, though, companies would not secure the data for free. While these companies are the ultimate winners in the end, the public at least receives some benefits from the surcharge rather than continuing as we currently do just accepting our security is not safe.

    3. While a regulatory framework against the capturing of inference data may work against some companies, I feel as if the larger groups, like Facebook or Google, will simply ignore the rules because of their power and continue to operate as normal. These limitations would then hurt the smaller companies more and may be damaging in the long-run to the user’s internet experience. An alternative could be forcing companies to be upfront on the inference data and information they are trying to secure from users. By being honest with a consumer, it then forces the user to decide on whether or not they would like to continue. If they choose to continue, then they are almost consenting to the capturing of their data and info, but they may feel more secure knowing what info they are specifically revealing and allowing a company to study.

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    1. Hey Joe,

      Nice post! I agree with your stance on the data marketplace is a positive idea that should be explored. We certainly seem to have accepted that our data is simply “out there” and often let our guard down. Thankfully, companies like Facebook and Google are usually using that data to market towards us based on our internet activity. That might be a naive way of looking at it on my part but I know there are far worse organizations that have worse plans for our data than creating Facebook ads. Creating some kind of financial hit to access our data could help to deter companies or software with malicious intent. I think some way of funneling the money made in this market back out through the economy could help shed some of the financial burdens we are faced with daily.

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  8. 1. I do feel that our positions as consumers and workers can suppress and overwhelm us as citizens. Our needs dominate our lifestyles and sometimes the sources of those needs may not align with how we feel as citizens. For example, let’s say an individual is very passionate about conservation but has a well paying job at a corporation that is notorious for excessive waste. This citizen would struggle with their desires to keep the planet clean and sustainable while maintaining their salary. Their immediate needs like food, medicine and shelter would far outweigh the needs they see are necessary to save the planet. Additionally, we are often at the mercy of consumer product companies to fulfill every day needs. Just like in the scenario above, the citizens would be forced to shop for goods that are manufactured and packaged in an environmentally friendly way. This can be somewhat limiting and some companies may charge a higher price to recoup for losses taken to create these specialized products. Again, a citizen may be forced to buy goods from a company who is less concerned with the environment.

    2. I very much support this course of action. I think that if large corporations want to use our data to help generate sales, then that data should be made for purchase. I think this could create better competition too between large technology companies. Perhaps we would see less monopolies this way assuming corporations invest in resources to pay for user data. I think the idea of funneling this money into the economy to support citizens is a great concept. Cost of living is ever increasing and for a lot of people, their salaries are not increasing at the same rate. Some form of dividend generated based on our usage of the internet could really support a lot of families in need.

    3. I agree with the idea that some regulating framework needs to be adopted to keep companies from creating inference data on individuals. This type of data is meant to market goods to people while browsing the web and can often feel out of place or like an invasion of privacy. It can also be a misrepresentation of a person’s wants and desires if simply generated off of internet traffic. Someone could simply be surfing the internet and stumble upon something they find an item interesting or strange but have no intention of purchasing it. That behavior could be misinterpreted as intent to buy, leading to advertisements geared towards that individual’s social media platforms. Regulations to what data companies can use for ad placements would help eliminate these instances and create a semblance of security for internet users.

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    1. Hey Tom,

      I like your post. I definitely agree with you that large companies like Facebook and Alphabet must pay to have access to our data. They simply take our personal information and sell it to advertisers like its no big deal. However, what they are doing is a clear violation of privacy and it’s truly disheartening to see how greedy these companies truly are. I think that with a technology dividend this would allow for us to dissuade these large companies from trying to track more of our information as they would rather not do anything to effect their bottom line way before they ever start to care about the rights of a consumer.

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  9. 1. These three categories of the consumer, worker, and citizen fit the individual perfectly. Moreover, I believe that the consumer holds the most power over the expression of a citizen. A consumer is what defines most Americans today as much of our economy is fueled by consumer spending. Many consumers usually buy without any regards for the concept of materialism, in which we are slowly and slowly ruining our senses of tranquility over finding more comfort in physical goods than in spending time with our loved ones.

    An example of this would be the phenomenon of Black Friday. Many businesses in the retail industry use this holiday to drum up pre-Christmas sales and many people camp outside these stores for the newest smartphone or video game console at heavily discounted prices. Most people skip time with their families to be able to get access to these material goods. In the end, it’s destroying the emotional aspects of our society and making us become less invested in each other and more invested in consumerism.

    2. I think a technology dividend, a user-surcharge that every company that collects and stores data has to put into a public fund, would be perfect for incentivizing large companies in Silicon Valley to stop taking advantage of most U.S. consumers and illegally extracting their data for ad revenue. They simply would rather not pay a penalty to conduct business because it hurts their bottom line.

    An example of this in the real world would be if the federal government decided to tax oil companies on the amount of pollution they bring into the environment. This would incentivize the companies to become more eco-friendly to avoid these costly penalties.

    For these big tech companies, if we can get them to pay up every time they want to harvest user data, then we are more likely to see this activity go down and instead see these large companies be more respective of their consumer’s individual rights.

    3. Involuntary data and inference data both have a little bit of a mystical character because we don’t know what involuntary data a company is capturing about us or what kind of inference data it is generating based on the involuntary data it captures. I whole heartedly agree with a regulatory framework being put in place to disallow the creation of inference data or at the minimum put limits on its use and trade.

    Companies like Facebook and Alphabet often use consumer data without the consent of an individual and only care about it for monetization purposes. A regulatory framework that would allow for consumers to decide what specific data they would like to give out or not to companies would be helpful in giving both sides a compromise own their beliefs. For big tech companies, they can be able to still collect date but, instead it’s at the consumer’s behest. If this were to be put in place then it would allow consumers the right to choose what data they want to give to companies and give them a sense of privacy back in terms of their Internet browsing.

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  10. 1. One could view from a different point by categorizing individuals, workers, and citizens. There are always conflicts between the views of the organized groups. However, society always put consumer as the priority. Conclusion this built culture surrounds us that profit is always the priority; thus, starting points are always from the customer’s point of view. I agree that the position of a consumer suppresses the expression of the individual as a citizen.
    2. In my opinion, I agree that the technology dividend is one of the good ideas. We as the individual could at least benefit from it rather than don’t have any benefit as right now. However, data collection might become even more normalized if one knows a technology fund built. The individual might think it is okay to share personal data since it becomes a donation to the charity. I do not see the difference between the company paying to collect data for the technology dividend and the company that contains the data supporting a charity fund.
    3. Unfortunately, I disagree that a regulatory framework must disallow the creation of inference data or, at the minimum, put limits on its use and trade. We, as individuals or consumers, are benefiting from the data inference. Data inference helps us find the solution more effortlessly and more accurately. Data inference also allows the company to build products that fit consumers’ needs. Thus, I do not think stopping companies from using data inference is a good idea.

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    1. Hi Yonghsi,

      I also feel that the consumer would be the main focal point out of the three categories, and for the similar reasons you had posted above. Consumers drive the marketplace, as their wants and needs determine which products are made and which companies survive. They also help drive innovation, and organizations look to create the next best products and ideas to capture customers and profits. I think it is important to note that consumer preferences are always changing, too, allowing for this innovation to be continuous, which in the end benefits society.

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  11. 1.) I do think that this is a great way to carve up the individual across these three areas that encapsulate most working class individuals. As we’ve all observed over the past several decades with the adoption and major expansion of the internet, there has been a general shift away from the sense of individualism and more to the consumer which is what I would consider the large influencing category unpinning most folks’ decision making process. I do think people have been generally materialistic when you look at the many great civilizations of humanity regardless of the time period however. The internet has just made things more easily accessible for the consumer to trump the others. The citizen is the alter-ego that needs to shine through more for humanity; giving back to the community and putting humanity first over sacrificing the environment as an example is for the common good.
    2.) This is an interesting thought and of course the first thing I think of when concerning public funds such as this managed by a government entity is misappropriation of funds to serve the purpose of the reigning power political party, for that reason I’m opposed. However, that aside, I do think it’s a good idea as an insurance plan of sorts that could act to support people who are impacted by corporations not protecting user data properly. Data ownership and who actually foots that bill will certainly come into question; for example a large telecommunications company collects data on users (with their consent of course) and stores it on a cloud environment managed by Amazon; given both companies are touching the data do they both have to pay this data tax? Also we need to shift the narrative regarding user data and call it out that nothing should be owned or monetizable by the corporation; it’s not their data and should be looked at as a liability for these companies – all revenue should be returned to the data populations.
    3.) I agree that the predictive analytics and algorithms being developed by large corporations utilizing inference data needs to be regulated. They are a fringe away from inserting themselves into the concept of free will and programming the decision making process without anyone really knowing what’s going on. This in itself is a reason why inference data should have limits and be regulated and bottom line if the user doesn’t consent to the data collection it should be illegal and heavily penalized if that takes place. I equate that as such a violation of human rights and a violation of an individual’s personal rights!

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    1. Hi Christian,

      I agree that predictive algorithms are a threat to society, similar to what Zuboff had argued earlier in the week. We let these predictions and company practices become accepted, and are fine with them changing our online behavior and search habits so they profit. It’s altering how we act, and can lead to major issues down the line. However, we have become so accustomed to it that I am not sure if basic regulations are the right path anymore, especially with how some larger companies skirt the rules already. While they may help, I think something additional and transparent needs to be added in along with regulations to help end this inference data capturing.

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  12. 1. Most of us would position ourself as consumers or a worker rather than citizens. As our role is more leaned towards consumer or worker. We hardly have any actionable rights as citizens which we would use except few which are provided to every citizens.

    When we think of as a citizen we do not have much say to change anything in the country except if we have the power to do so. However as consumers or worker we have the power to stop using the product or stop or change of work/ ways

    2. I think that the data which is used by companies or used by companies is owned by an individual and seems like currently, they are getting this at free of cost or some nominal value. The individual whose data is use should be paid for if they want to share their data and it belongs to them.

    3. I agree that there should be a regulatory framework like data privacy for involuntary data and also the individuals should know where all their data is being used as its being captured at every location you visit and there should be notification or users should be made aware that their data will be used.

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    1. Hi Dhara,
      You touched on a key point that I did not mention in your point 3 which is the notification to users when their data is being used. As an individual who does not know how my data is currently being used, I think it would be interesting if I were to be notified when a company is sending my data, to whom they are sending it, and how it is being utilized. Then I could have the option for them to discontinue using my data in that way. Great point!

      Dave

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    2. Great response. I really liked the ideas you shared in the third response and had some similar ideas myself. We have no idea what is still being tracked when we leave sites and that is what is scary about the data that is being captured from all consumers.

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  13. 1. The 3 expressions that makeup the individual are indeed the consumer, the worker, and the citizen. I would 100 percent agree that the expression of the individual as a citizen is stifled by one’s position as a consumer and the position as a worker. In this day and age, everyone is treated as a consumer. The rise of big tech and the expansion of Cookies and targeted advertising techniques in this digital economy has segmented every single person into a consumer market share. The consumption of social media and their respective advertisements is at every corner. Social media initially came out as a form of individualistic expression- a platform where one can capture and share their own individual experiences with their loved ones. Sadly, it has evolved into carefully crafted advertisements targeted towards the consumer. On another front, people’s individualistic nature as citizens are stifled in capitalist America. In order to consume everything that is being thrown at individuals as the American Dream (i.e luxury cars, luxury housing, and luxury dining), people have to work. The combination of low wages and increased pricing has resulted in the average American often having to work multiple jobs to ensure all of their basic needs are being met AND that they are able to (hopefully) afford their wants. Unfortunately, both are often unmet. Simultaneously, the individual is being told that they must buy x, y and x in order to be more productive or even a better worker through targeted advertising. At the end of the day, after work, individuals go on the internet and are being pushed to consume media, to consume products, and to consume certain ideas. This leaves little to no time for the individual expression of the citizen. Big tech has capitalized on this and has infringed on the rights of citizens by collecting involuntary data and generating inference data without their consent to fuel their own private agenda.
    When the COVID-19 pandemic first occurred, for the first time in what felt like forever, people had the time to express their individual selves. Many were unable to work or go out for fun and so, they were able to tune into themselves and mentally check into what was happening around them, including their rights as citizens.

    2. I do agree that large corporations should pay a dividend every time they collect and store consumer data. This dividend could result in corporations being more mindful of the data they collect and may even limit their data collection to avoid paying fees. However, I am conflicted on where the dividend should go. Collecting the dividend and putting it into a public fund would be beneficial; however, I think it would be more impactful if an individual directly benefited from their own data via a use-surcharge that goes directly to the individual’s bank account. This monetary amount would allow the individual to fulfill their needs i.e buy toilet paper, put their children in daycare, etc.. Collecting the funds from an individual’s data and putting it into a public fund essentially states that individual data is public property, when it is not.

    3. Transparency is crucial in regards to the usage of both involuntary data and inference data. There must, 100%, be a regulatory framework put in place to limit the usage and even the creation of inference data, especially inference data that is developed from involuntary data collection. As the world moves towards the mass utilization of AI and machine learning, it is imperative that these regulations be put into place to avoid further misuse. In fact, I believe that one stipulation that should be included in addition to the regulation of this data is that the individual should be notified which data is being collected, used, for what purposes, and be given the option to opt out of such usage. Big tech already has too much power and this regulation would give back some of the power to the individual.

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    1. Hi Charu! I agree with you that regulations absolutely need to be in place when it comes to inference data. I work in cybersecurity for a fortune 10 company and I can tell you from personal experience that it is so important that people know what is being done with their data. They own it, not the companies. More needs to be done to transfer the ownership and responsibility of that data out of the hands of corporate America and back into the hands of the consumer. Companies shouldn’t be able to monetize the sharing of information regarding their consumer base for other financial gain. That should be passed onto the individual versus being manipulated for profit!

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  14. 1. I agree with the categorization of the individual with the consumer, the worker, and the citizen. I think often times, people have two focused modes, specifically the consumer and the worker. If we think about how the average individual spends their day, majority of it is as the worker. The remaining time is as a consumer. I think it’s also important to mention that being a consumer does not always mean that there needs to be a purchase. Simply browsing the internet, which hosts many advertisements that we walk through, could be considered consumerism. With the increase in internet usage and accessibility, the time the individual spends as a consumer has increased drastically. With each of these buckets (consumer and worker) people are spending majority of their time. Not much of the time is focused on the purpose of the citizen. I think it is critical that the individual remembers during their time acting as consumer or worker what their rights as a citizen are. People need to understand how their information is being used and processed and deem it acceptable or unacceptable.

    2. I think it is an interesting idea to tax the data which is being collected by these technology companies. For this to work, the amount of data being collected would need to be measurable. I think it brings into question whether the idea is to tax those who extract the data (technology companies) or to tax those who are receiving the data (marketing companies as an example). As an example, if Facebook is extracting data which is managed in their internal systems, should Facebook be charged for that? Or does the charge come into play when Facebook shares this data with other companies who want to understand key demographic areas? Additionally, I think it also begs the question of which data is acceptable for companies to use. Going back to the first question of citizen, consumer, and worker, I think the citizens need to make the determination of which data that they are sharing is acceptable to be distributed.

    3. I have agreed with this point in a few of my responses so far. I believe that since data management and the shear amount of data that we have came about so rapidly, the infrastructure and regulations were never effectively put in place to manage it. I think it is up to the citizens to determine which involuntary data and which inference data is acceptable to be shared. I think a good option for this would be to allow users to select which data they would like to share upon downloading an application. For example, some people might be OK with sharing inference data if it makes their lives easier with a multitude of applications such as simplifying purchases, adjusting to a meal plan based on data extracted from a Fitbit among other things.

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  15. 1. Early in the lecture I create the three expressions often individual-, the consumer, the worker, and the citizen. Your response to this categorization and do you feel that the subject position of a consumer or a worker, especially the former, very often overwhelms or even suppresses the expression of the individual as a citizen?

    Individual, Worker, and Citizen -The three prominent roles supplement each other in some scenarios as well as conflict in their interests in certain scenarios. In general Consumer, the position overwhelms the position of Citizen. But, of late, a number of consumers are favoring sustainable products. That is, consumers are actively looking at the impacts of the goods they are purchasing, it the goods/ material eco friendly or not. These trends are creating newer demands and at the same time, a consumer position may not overwhelm a Citizen position.

    2. Our data creates endless value as it enters multiple other products. Right now such value is privatized by those who extract the data. The continuous production of value from our data can be resolved if there is a technology dividend – – a use-surcharge that every company that collects and stores data has to put into a public fund. This fund could then be used to support anything from education to the public health of the citizens. Your responses.

    The data surcharge concept is similar to Morozov’s proposal from earlier this week. Morozov proposed the notion of a data marketplace, in which firms would have to pay fees to acquire and research consumer data.
    A. Free service (Voluntary accumulation of data): where the user is willing to give away some of his personal data in lieu of free service.

    B. Paid data: Individuals would like to get paid for sharing their data. This is the choice of an individual or a group of individuals to share their data. As they are paid for the voluntary contribution of their personal data, they would charge the enterprises. This type of data sharing is very rare for normal situations.

    C. Involuntary accumulation of data: This is the passive transfer of data from corporates such as Google. The money generated using this data will not go back to the people. So, it is justified to share or distribute some of the revenues to the public funds, as the corporates are using public data
    As Zuboff noted earlier this week, civilization has merely embraced that personal data is not safe, embracing a social convention around it and how firms misuse our data, which might be dangerous in the future. Companies, on the other hand, just wouldn’t safeguard information for free if there was a price.

    3. Involuntary data and inference data both have a little bit of a mystical character because we don’t know what involuntary data a company is capturing about us or what kind of inference data it is generating based on the involuntary data it captures. A regulatory framework must simply disallow the creation of inference data or at the minimum put limits on its use and trade. Your responses.

    I agree with the above stance that any set of data shouldn’t be conquered without the user’s consent. Users are never aware of what kind of involuntary data is captured, what are patterns created, and inferences made from the involuntary data. It is unfair on the part of the users, as their personal data is commoditized without their knowledge. Establishing a regulatory framework is very much needed to safeguard citizens’ data privacy. Rules / Laws such as California privacy laws, FTC regulations, and GDPR regulations are some of the examples of regulations being onboarded to save some data privacy aspects.

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  16. I feel that consumer, citizen and worker are appropriate categorizations around the world of consumerism. I do also agree that the titles of consumer and worker suppress the identity of the individual as a citizen. When individual citizens who might make their own choices is suddenly grouped together with other consumers based on habits, that might represent the majority of that body or the most likely consumer habit, but obviously there will be outliers or people who can be pushed to behave a certain way.

    My longtime issue with companies using our data without our knowledge is that there is
    A lack of transparency with how the data is extracted, which companies have access to it and how it is being used. I feel like there is a lack of trust between the consumer and the companies that are using this data and that the companies should be in some way held accountable. One thought is that there should be a penalty for misuse of the data. I think that a surcharge that acted almost like a tax would be greatly beneficial to our society and would help develop some much needed infrastructure. There still is however, the potential for malpractice with such data. There should also be some additional regulations and penalties (potentially financial) that could also be used the same way as the surcharge.

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  17. 1. Based on the lecture, we think of the consumer regarding how we purchase products, what are we looking for in the market and what do we value? We can think of the worker as regarding company loyalty. We can think of the citizen regarding social responsibility. I think the biggest factor in suppressing the expression of the individual as a citizen is the position of the worker. When we think of the worker, they will have strong company loyalty. With the role of data, companies will have a surplus amount of data from both their employees and consumers. They can use this data to influence purchasing habits and how the individual reacts to market trends.

    2. I think the data companies extract should be regulated. If a company is paying a social media site or a third party to compile the data, then it should be excluded from this fund. I also think if they company has a defined and open program that tracks purchasing history (such as store credit cards or memberships), then they should also be excluded. They are using these programs and the consumer has the choice to participate in it or not. If the companies are pulling it without the consumers knowledge, then they should have to pay a portion, or it should be better regulated.

    3. I think this question ties into my response from hypothesis 2. The way in which companies capture data should be regulated. It is a breach of privacy when companies obtain data without the citizen’s knowledge. These companies once they have a hold of this data could be selling it to other companies to make a profit. Data regulation at a minimum should put a limit on the use of trade of it.

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  18. I feel as if it is human nature that our views are blinded by our immediate needs. By adapting to see beyond our immediate needs, people will transform from being a consumer/worker to being more of a world citizen. I agree the money should be used for the public such as education. It is the public’s data that is being used/provided, why shouldn’t they see some kind of reward from it. I myself am against involuntary data, it is not right for companies to take user data without their knowledge and then for companies to make a profit off of it.

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  19. 1. I agree that it is a common result of human nature to have ourselves be the basis for how we are going to vies things from all points of view. What separates elite people when it comes to business decision making is to avoid this initial bias and get inside the mind of others to make important decisions for an entire company.
    2. This is definitely a tough subject to decide what you are going to fall under and what you want to be enforced. Is it right that our private data can be share from business to business to benefit them? Absolutely not, however if some of these funds were then being directed to projects like schools and our government system maybe this would be a good way to tax the big corps that are participating in this kind of activity.
    3. Involuntary data is definitely something that needs regulations. The fact that a company is able to follow our clicks after we leave their site and then use that data is something that shouldn’t be done. But again, until we regulate and enforce, businesses would be dumb not to use these things if it is going to help them make more money.

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