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The Role of Big Tech in Privacy & Data Security

Data Security

Data is king in the era of the World Wide Web. These days all that companies want is your data so they can pinpoint target you with relevant ads such as 50% off jeans, new betting offers and baby clothes before you’ve even given birth. These tech giants, including companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple, have amassed vast amounts of user data, leading to complex discussions about privacy. 

Data Monopolies & Unchecked Control

Companies have access to an unprecedented amount of personal information, including user behaviour, preferences, and even location data. Governments are stepping in to try and control this but realistically, these companies can always find loopholes to get around this. 

The lack of robust regulation and oversight has allowed them to operate with limited accountability in the data market, which has raised alarms about potential misuse and exploitation of this data. Facebook’s Mark Zukaburg has been in the limelight with a number of data issues pertaining to what the company stores about its users – and it’s scary. 

Unchecked Access & Profiling

One of the key issues surrounding Big Tech’s role in data security is the unchecked access to personal information. These companies have the capability to create in-depth profiles of users, offering a level of insight into individuals’ lives that was previously unimaginable. 

The data is then sold or used to target people with content with pin-prick precision. Unfortunately, we no longer buy the products, but we are the products with the amount of data they can pull from our simple interactions online. 

Ethical Concerns

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has further underscored the need to address data privacy issues. Users are becoming more aware of how companies are using their data, and so the people are starting to shift how they allow their information to be shared. 

One solution is the rise of Web-3 products that allow its users to interact anonymously, but although a potential lifeline for us to keep our data away from hungry companies, this is still very early in the making.

Steps Toward Data Security

In response to these concerns, companies are being forced to change their current policies pertaining to data usage and storage. Apple has introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) to allow users to change their settings and how other apps get data across platforms. 

Google and Facebook have also added features so that users can go into their settings to change how they want their info to be used, if at all. Things such as auto deletion of data after a specific period and allowing apps to track their location data.

The Role of Regulation

Governments are being pressed for more action as it seems that little so far has been done. We have had one breakthrough with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A regulation set for data protection laws, with strict requirements for data handling and user consent.

In the United States however, nothing much seems to have changed. Discussions around comprehensive data privacy laws are ongoing, with an emphasis on giving users more control over their data. But still, there hasn’t been much change. These big companies can lobby the people in office to slow down the change. Less data for the companies means less revenue, and they obviously know that. 

Future Outlook

The role of Big Tech in privacy and data security is likely to remain a topic of significant discussion and debate. The future will likely see more comprehensive data privacy regulations and greater user empowerment in controlling their personal information. When this change comes in, companies will need to adapt their business models to suit the new legislation. But who knows when or if this will even happen?

When the people speak up, the government tends to follow, be it slowly at best. As users become more conscious of their data privacy, they will increasingly seek platforms and services that prioritize their information’s security.

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