Selling Our Digital Footprint

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We know that our digital data is being collected all the time. What is being done to protect us?

  • Gay-dating-app Grindr is entering into a public merger. Chinese company Kunlun Tech, the original owners, divested Grindr two years ago over US national security concerns.
  • Tiktok, owned by ByteDance, has taken steps to publicly distance itself from China also over fears that user data could be passed along to the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Grindr was previously singled out for selling users’ location data, which in some cases made it possible to infer personal information. It has since introduced better privacy policies.
  • The data has since been used to demonstrate the intelligence risks associated with commercially available information to US government agencies. Individuals should perhaps take heed too.
  • Location services as well as health data (accumulated on period-tracking apps, for instance) shared for targeted advertising could be used as evidence in US states where abortion is criminalized.
  • Having a digital footprint is almost inevitable; the problem lies in accepting this simply as a “necessary evil”. The solution, however, cannot be to make data totally unavailable to the public.
  • Researchers and journalists play an essential role in monitoring Big Tech. The Digital Services Act recently passed by the EU makes holding these companies accountable a possibility.
The Washington Post
Financial Times

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