This article effectively dissects and analyses the impact of data collection and its usage in this day and age. The author highlights the impact big data has on our society and our individual well being, meanwhile emphasizing on how this collection of data intrudes our personal privacy on a day-to-day basis. The author also briefly illustrates the cultural difference in how data is collected, used and perceived among the society and governments/corporations.
The author questions whether EU regulation to protect privacy such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will really help people from the harms caused by data collection. Although, GDPR has certainly acted as a stepping stone in hindering data extraction, it's still limited in controlling data collection from contracted data such as health insurance, employment contracts, etc., as these sets of data collection is considered as a basic requirement. Hence, it's evident that legal regulations do not really stop collection and usage of private data, especially nowadays when there's ubiquitous data available everywhere.
The author introduces the concept of how routinisation of surveillance has led to the naturalisation of data collection. However, raw data alone isn't enough to draw analysis; it's only efficient when combined with the larger pool of datasets. Hence, one's personal data, being a small fraction of a large dataset is not likely to cause any harm on individual privacy.
The claim that data can only be useful when cumulated with other principles showcases that only data use and not data collection has negative significances. Hence, I think that legal regulators should focus more on the actual use of big data rather than the collection of the data.
The paper also explores how data is considered much more valuable and useful when connected and allowed to grow with time and considering the future of data is unknown to us, data deleting or limiting policy in all contexts could be considered harmful.
The author argues that the existence of ‘hyperconnectivity', which is the availability of immense data through social media, mobile devices and big data allows for data driven social transformation without reference to a specific individual. Hence, this provokes me to wonder whether using one's personal data anonymously for a bigger social cause can be considered unethical? If data were used for people's well being such as social media surveillance for monitoring any terrorism threats, would it still be considered unethical to collect personal data if your safety could be strengthened from datafication?
The macro benefits of datafication is also carefully analysed here, both economic and social benefits can be predicted using large sets of data, thereby enhancing individual and social empowerment. Datafication even facilitates government decisions on various matters, but I feel that the extensive surveillance of our data to ‘organise the world' may have serious implications in the future as there will always be a need for more personal data, which means complete invasion of one's personal space.
On the contrary, although data collection may seem to have heaps of benefits, the cost of data collection is not considered or measured. Further, the abundance of data available could lead to the risk of information falling into the wrong hands of people. The EU regulators also report concerns about the big data being used beyond the case of protecting individual freedom and social well-being.
The paper uses case studies from the health and education sector to analyse automated data collection and it's impact on the industry. It's argued that automated data processing boosts the service offered to individual data subjects. However, we can establish that there's no limit to the type and extent of data that is extracted, hence the question of whether better service and predictions outweigh the ethical importance is still unanswered.
As for the health sector, data sharing is seen as way of making ‘common life better'. The author highlights the importance of sharing health data as it's seen as an ethical responsibility of people to contribute to the datasets for better healthcare services. It's argued that right to privacy of data should be supressed in the healthcare industry as the lack of data may hinder the development of new treatments or prescriptions.
The paper also highlights the importance of data surveillance in the education sector as this allows for adaptive learning amongst student, which has proven to be beneficial for learning and understanding.
Therefore, it's evident that datafication has both its benefits and limitations. The author illustrates how usage of data for the right reasons could enhance a specific sector immensely. The paper also brings perspective to the role legal regulations such as GDPR plays in data surveillance and how we should be manoeuvring through datafication of our lives. Personally, I wonder how the introduction of legal regulations such as GDPR will affect marketing personal such as myself as it limits us from receiving consumer data, which has proven to be very impactful when targeting audiences. In terms of answering the question of privacy invasion in this case, the data that's usually extracted are information we as individuals post ourselves, voluntarily online or to our friends and family. Hence, I'd like to argue that data collection is just combining public information of an individual that's already available for people to use.
...(download the rest of the essay above)