By Kari Tontarski
Where Data Begins….
It begins with you. Yes, you. There’s data in your brain, in and on your body, not to mention the data at your fingertips. Let’s face it, you’re a walking, talking blob of data. Everything that comprises you is valuable. But how can you quantify your data? It’s anything that is specific to you. Any data that you willingly provide at any point in your existence on this planet, any service you subscribe to, and application you actively use in your life is collecting data. The majority of these services are here to help you, but it does come at a cost. The cost is your data.
Where Data Goes…
It’s stored, sold, and traded. If you’re picturing a seedy back alley exchange; a person in a trench coat offering USB sticks full of gossip on one side, and fresh kidneys on the other, you’re most likely wrong. Your collected data is typically depersonalized and, for lack of a better term, dumped, into a big pool - known as Big Data. The purchaser, who can dispense it, does so for the best price (likely repeatedly) to its customers. Since it’s constantly collected, the oldest data is the least reliable.
What Makes Data Valuable….
Reliability and integrity. It makes sense. You wouldn’t trust an outdated source, or a source that has been previously proven to be inconsistent. You would be likely to trust something with a consistent history, or something that was backed by facts. That means that Proprietary Company Data is the juiciest and tastiest of all the datas. That data is absolutely delicious for those advanced algorithms and It is a gold mine to a hacker. It is verifiable, and therefore valuable data. An organization is literally making money off of it every second it exists in its hands and it’s what drives businesses to sell themselves to the highest bidder.
How Data is Used….
Most of the time, it’s used by businesses to target their products and services to us and to other businesses. Which benefits us and the targeting business at the same time. It is part of our lovely economical circle of life. Other times, it’s used against us. And I’m not referring to ads being annoying. Because, yes they are, but I’m referring to theft. Data is often stolen and used to make money; selling Personally Identifiable Information and Proprietary Information and removing any regulations on how that information is depersonalized and utilized. Paving the way for psychological and financial damage on a global scale.
The give and take of data has reached a state that we do not even think about it. Until we are proactive about protecting our virtual values we’re essentially leaving the door unlocked with a post-it saying we’ll be back in 5.