From Om Malik:
Did you know at the time of signing up for Strava, that lovable cycling and running activity tracker is sharing real time user data and selling that to municipalities for 80 cents a year. In what universe does it make sense for the company to do that without asking, and have a company spokesperson blatantly admit to a Forbes reporter that, the default is opt-in — a malaise popularized by Facebook. Because not doing so means, actually explaining to people what they intend to do with that all that personal information.
John Foreman, a data scientist at MailChimp, in an eloquent essay, pointed out that “humans are bad at discerning the value of their data” and that the “personal data just appears out of nowhere, exhaust out of life’s tailpipe” and thus we are willing to trade it for something that seems less valuable. Foreman’s argument points out the futility — we are trading our freedoms in the data age for some minor gains.
It’s a thought provoking piece that nails down the real problem. It’s easy to dismiss the potential risks of giving away our information when we don’t really understand how powerful computers are or will be in the near future.