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What People Don’t Get about Privacy? By Justin Chan  


Adam Tabriz, MD
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(@adam-tabriz)
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What People Don’t Get about Privacy?

when I read this article it reminded me of a quote from one of my past writings.

“Current strategies towards ensuring our health information privacy are not going to be enough until we get rid of the underlying incentives for information piracy — Note: There are more incentives for rubbing a (centralized) bank than is for picking (decentralized) pockets!” https://link.medium.com/jWqLyMZ7uZ

The current security issues with the internet and online transactions resembles the fine prints of the paper application forms. Not many people try take the time  to read them.

I believe the data security challenges will persist unless we minimize the incentives for the data piracy by decentralization, distribution of the data among its owners.

 

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Bingran Lu
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I don't think this is something technology alone can solve. I think the first step to tackle this issue is for people to understand the concept of data ownership and what they are giving up in exchange for the convenience they get. But it is just so challenging seeing how most of us are already suffering from unwanted information overload. 

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Marina Alamanou
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Posted by: @bingran

I don't think this is something technology alone can solve. I think the first step to tackle this issue is for people to understand the concept of data ownership and what they are giving up in exchange for the convenience they get. But it is just so challenging seeing how most of us are already suffering from unwanted information overload. 

>>> “Understanding data ownership” 

I don't think they have time to realise it. They have a full time job with an average manager over their shoulder, a family and kids to raise and most of the times they live in big frenetic cities, so the term "free time for myself to think" doesn't even exist for them.

Before Internet and tech companies (20-30 yrs ago) - these "same" people that now just click and chat - would go to their local churches and "confess" all their "personal data". In a way or the other these data will reach the police, the lawyers and eventually the bureaucrats of their small cities. The same thing is happening now. We blame technology that is using our data, but is always the government that controls technology. It is the government that funded technology in the first place. And the government is made up by the people that click, click, click on everything. 

While technology is evolving exponentially, humans are not....their brains from an evolutionary point of view is still very close to our ancestors in the caves. So far, we have been able "to change our external environment" upgrading our cities/lifestyle like software updates, but we haven't been able to chang our hardware. I guess this is what is called collective illusion: we think we live in big modern cities, but the reality is we act like we are still in the jungle. 

So, the modern dilemmas  

  1. Giving our data to strangers?  OR
  2. Abusing other people’s data?

have simply to do with the fact that some of us just have to "confess" everything to "someone" and some of us just have to "steal and abuse" everything from the so called naive's ones. It was always like this: “some people create and share and same steal and abuse, and eventually some other's make profit while these two are fighting”. 

The biggest problem is not that we give our data, the biggest problem is: "do they ALL know how to extract correct information from our data"?????..?....? 

>>> “Most of us are already suffering from unwanted information overload”

Hahaha 🙂 I guess this is how data scientists feel every where on earth and in every industry. While it is true that big data are more statistically significant therefore useful, paradoxically the most we immerse ourselves in the avalanche of data around us, the more we risk to find ourselves lost in these data and miss the point. 

So, while is always about big and a lot’s of data, the solution is always in XYZ (limited) number of rules that have always existed.      

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Justin Chan
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Thanks Adam and Bingran for the thoughtful comments.

giving people access rights to their own data is a critical step. I still reckon, though, that we might still not know enough of data implications (forward implications) as well as data ownerships (backward implications). the former pertains to the fact that no one quite knows the value of data being collected, but only knows its value is increasing over time (with the cost of insight extraction coming down over time). the latter (data ownership) is a more complicated issue. as laws in technology evolve and technologies such as IoT, 5G network, flourishing, there is much room for the powerful hands to manipulate its meaning. one thing for sure - the future solution is fully outside of technology.

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Michael Woronko
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Posted by: @adam-tabriz

I believe the data security challenges will persist unless we minimize the incentives for the data piracy by decentralization, distribution of the data among its owners.

The decentralization of data is an interesting point as it's probably the best way to safeguard data - to compartmentalize it as much as possible. I've heard that this is the main mode of protection when it comes to safeguarding information relating to national security - to compartmentalize as much as possible - usually a familiar tactic with disclosure practices. 

However, I'm also of the pessimistic (though sometimes liberating) belief that privacy is slowly becoming more of a privilege than a right as consumers are happy to give up swaths of information in exchange for ease of use or some measures of convenience. It's scary how much we're willing to accommodate so long as convenience is an apparent benefit. 

Also curious to see how the landscape will appear once the commodification of data will hit full stride when more and more corporate enterprises realize its unfathomable potential. 

Thanks to all above for the insightful thoughts. 

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Adam Tabriz, MD
(@adam-tabriz)
Joined: 1 year ago

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@michael-woronko

Excellent points! 

I am sure most of us can agree that giving away some information may worth the convenience. However, It would be a perfect scenario, if there was a true net neutrality in place devoid of hidden business agenda.

unfortunately, that is not the case.

Not long ago I wrote a  piece:   Data Science, Medicine; Tactics vs. Strategy: the commencement of unclaimed domain which pretty much sums up the trend we see with respect to tech industry 

 

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Bingran Lu
(@bingran)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 16

@michael-woronko

You are not alone on this Michael, privacy is definitely becoming a privilege. But I'm a little more optimistic than you as there are tangible benefits to giving up our data. Think personal medical record and cancer prediction.  

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Michael Woronko
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Joined: 1 year ago

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@bingran

Definitely agree with you. The benefits, to me, outweigh the costs. Real-time data, predictive intelligence systems, etc. 

I think it'll be fascinating to see how we can learn more about our shared responses to certain external stimuli. For example, weather is one of those fringe causes of certain physiological issues. I work partly in the medical field and it's commonly accepted that humidity and barometric pressures can certainly influence joint pain, soreness, etc.

We'll now be able to gauge collective responses to such events, likely uncovering new understandings. Can solar flares affect pacemakers? Can we much more rapidly trace health effects of a community back to one source of contaminated drinking water?

Got off topic a bit.. 

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