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Why Your Data Should Be Yours

It’s not a taboo idea that our data is being collected. Our smartphones consist of many apps, and a majority of them are constantly collecting our information. Many people are noticing advertisements are tailored to their conversations with their family and friends. How do we prevent advertisers and other companies from accessing our data? Brittany Kaiser, the co-founder of Own Your Data, joined Bold TV to share how she’s taking on this privacy issue and how blockchain could help.

The scandal that changed everything

Kaiser is the former business development director for the political firm Cambridge Analytica. In 2018, she became a whistleblower when The Guardian started reporting on the Facebook scandal: App developers were selling Facebook user’s information to other companies without their consent. At this time, Facebook had control of your data and your friend’s data. Meaning, if you were friends with somebody who was playing Farmville or taking those silly quizzes on Facebook, then your information was more than likely compromised during this time. 

Our data is a digital asset

Kaiser wants data to be treated as intangible personal property; she sees it as the most valuable asset on Earth. Companies are using our data to make money off of everyday people. Yet, the person whose data is being used isn’t receiving any compensation. If we treat data as personal property, Kaiser says we can easily manage it by creating terms.

She compared this ideal process to an Airbnb booking,  “If people want to use my data, – just like if they wanted to use my house – they tell me who they are, what they want to use it for, for how long they’re going to use it for. We agree on a price. And I get paid before I hand away my keys.”

Blockchain technology can play a great factor in protecting our data. If we were to treat this digital asset as an NFT (non-fungible token), the user would be in complete control of the transaction. They could even include smart contracts. These contracts are embedded and could demand that companies pay monetization fees for distributing our information. 

How long could this take?

The government is becoming more aware of this problem. The 2018 incident with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was an eye-opener that made people do more research on their data and how it’s being collected. Kaiser was also an expert witness of a successful Equifax lawsuit that held the company accountable for its data breach. Now, there are organizations like Kaiser’s that are passionate about data rights and cybersecurity.

There have been small wins against big tech companies when it comes to data protection. But until there significant change, Kaiser suggests we take to look at the technology we use every day and find an alternative option – such as blockchain – that protects our privacy.

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