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Power: Who Has Control and How to Maintain it if You Have it?

Power: Who Has Control and How to Maintain it if You Have it?

The biggest thing people all over the world are interested in hiding and doing whatever necessary to protect is their information. In my opinion, I think that the most valuable type of data that could be marketable to outside governments and people would be information. Information can be either be helpful or devastating to whomever or whatever the information is about. Our lives can be drastically affected if information about us was let out. Information is just too important! We look at more recent occurrences of information releases like the Panama papers. The information hidden within the documents were never supposed to get out to the public, but here we are again with information being released in ways that we don’t expect. We are constantly being reminded that our information is not as safe as we expect it to be. Yet, we continue to give out information freely.

 The apps/services I use are probably giving a lot out of my electronic activity. Amazon is what I use most often and from my searches of things that I may purchase using that app on the go with my smartphone to using the Amazon Prime Music app. I have looked on Amazon just to see if they sell certain things, even if I wasn’t interested in purchasing them. By doing this, it shows up on Amazon on my computer the next time I’m on there. It will recommend other products similar to those I have either viewed or purchased. The recommendations are all given based on information that is collected about me. As of recently I have really been interested in musician autobiographies and biographies. I have purchased several in the last six months.  Normally I wouldn’t think anything of it, but now I’m seeing recommendations for books I’ve never even looked at based on the fact the musicians are similar to those biographies I have purchased. A couple times a week, I will receive emails based on the products that I have looked at and about the deals they now have on those products in hopes that I will make a purchase later.

I think about all of the data that I put out in the world on a daily basis. I probably put out far more than I think I do. However, I don’t think that makes my data any less important than if my data was stolen and I chose not to put any information out in the world. I would still rate the value of my data production very high, but it some ways the apps I use collecting information can still be very helpful. It can remind me of things that I once wanted to purchase. Like with Amazon, I know that it collects information about things I look at through the app or on the website, but it is saved in things that I viewed. I have the option to go back. One search isn’t lost when I close the app or the website. In other ways this data collection can be harmful. I love knowing that Amazon can in some ways know me very well, but it others I don’t like it. I don’t always like the fact that Amazon takes away that since of discovery that comes from shopping. The sense of when you stumble across the next book that changes you in some way when you least expect it. Amazon knows nine times out of ten I’m going to enjoy the next book they recommend to me. Just because Amazon may recommend a great novel or biography, it takes something that I find pleasurable about the search away. I’m just not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Every day we continue to use apps and services on our devices that collect information about us. We don’t think about what information we give out, because we blindly accept the terms and conditions of different websites and apps on our mobile devices to keep in the loop of what these websites and apps offer us or allow us to be a part of the world around us. We don’t take the time to read the terms and conditions when we click agree. We, as a group of people, feel our time is far too precious to spend some time reading those terms and conditions. The writers of the terms and conditions are make sure they are written more often than not in language that the layperson cannot understand. What is the point in having terms and conditions to even attempt to read if the average person cannot understand what they are reading. Even if the person is able to read the terms and conditions, in some cases the terms are so vague it allows the companies the control to change what they mean at any point and time. Like Facebook and their manipulation of their user’s emotions through and it was considered o.k. based on a clause of their terms and conditions. Is the moral of a company to do this or misuse the data collected?  That is a difficult question to answer. It really doesn’t have an answer. We, as users, can claim all day long that a company shouldn’t have the ability to control our lives and have control of the data that we release. However, would we look at the situation a little differently, if we were the individuals with all of the power?

 

I, honestly, don’t think I would want to own this information especially about the information about people. It would just be far too much pressure to keep it safe. I don’t think I could handle that pressure. I don’t think I could be responsible for lives of many or even a few, because I can barely be responsible for myself. Why would I want to be in charge of attempting to keep information about others safe? I would be too afraid that I would without intention release information that could harm the lives of others. There is too much possibility for human error and what are companies, but large groups of people. Power can corrupt people in ways that you can’t even imagine. People will exploit whatever resources they have when they have the power to do so and data is nothing but a resource. Those who have the ability to collect a lot of it have the most power.

Power can lead to the exploitation of other resources for data. I don’t believe that commodities should be exploited for data. I think that data is something that is just as important as commodities, but it isn’t something that should people be forced to​ choose between having. Yes, we don’t need certain things that we choose to buy, but by making it where you have to choose between giving data to receive those things in some ways compromises what is ethical and moral. When people become corrupt there is nothing that is really safe. Some people will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Yes, there are bad people in the world and I’m not naive to think there are not. No commodity is worth harming the lives of others. I think those who are harming the lives of others should be punished. However, what about the little guy? The individual who just happened to get wrapped up in a situation they didn’t know about. What power does this person really have and how can they regain control over the data that they have released? What can this person really do to have control except go off the grid? What other options are there for the average person? What can we do?

 

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