Should people have the right to choose what to share and to be paid for their own information?
Today I called ABSA bank to request a non-obligation estimate on home insurance. To my astonishment the sales operator requested I first give her my Identity Number, this surprised me as I saw no logic in providing her with my personal information for this was clearly outlined that this was a non-obligation quote. Needless to say – I categorically refused!
She insisted and did not assist me in providing me even a rough estimate. I have no account with ABSA Bank so I found this process to be somewhat illogical and unorthodox. Her only reason for requiring my Identity number was to “bring up my profile”…now if this does not alarm you then you are too trusting and that YOUR data is possibly being bought and sold without your knowledge or without your consent, how did ABSA Bank get my data?
The World Economic Forum reported that 15billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2016 and 50billion by 2020. The amount of data stored on the internet is predicted to grow exponentially and looks set to be 44 times larger in 2020 than it was in 2009. It is little surprise that internet revenue has also grown strongly over the last ten years, or that in 2013 it hit $42.8bn in the United States.
In addition with the increase of identity theft and fraud, why are people so willing to provide their personal information to Banks, sales representatives and companies. One must understand that these are companies whose aim is to make a profit of you. Now these same companies who do not need to know what you eat and what car you drive or what are you searching online to thereby customise your search engine to give you recommendations to third parties companies they have sold your information. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook have business models underlined by the use of personal data, but most people would have trouble knowing who exactly has access to the data trail they are generating across the internet.
One viewpoint is that such sharing of information helps economies and improves our own experiences online. The internet is a largely free service, and sharing personal data is the price we pay. I’m not happy with this situation, for the use of my information without consent is a violation of privacy.