A few days back I read an article on the New York Times that talked about “data breach fatigue”. Let’s make this very clear: data breaches are a daily occurrence in our lives. It seems like they’re here to stay and they are like a “not so pleasant” distant relative that decides to visit and suddenly doesn’t leave. Initially we dread the presence but after a while, we get used to them and stop asking when they are packing up to go back home.
And that makes me wonder, why? Why do we allow the inconvenience and the risk to remain unchecked when we have the power to hold companies accountable for what they do with our data? Do we think that this is a David & Goliath situation? Or really the fatigue has really set in?
I find it hard to believe that in this age of grassroots activism, we think we cannot do anything about others abusing our personal data.
While I was thinking about this, I also read about how the California Consumer Privacy Act came to be. All started when one individual learned about how much Google knows about their users and he decided to take matters into his own hands. And he didn’t do it alone, he had to go through the old fashioned signature gathering process to get this on everyone’s radar and then it became very clear that something needed to be done. CCPA is one of the fastest legislations enacted recently.
Our level of digital maturity
When we think about the digital age, we have to realize that this explosion has just taken place in the last 20 years or so. This change in the way we do business, how we interact with each other and to many aspects of how we live our everyday lives, is so new and so unprecedented that everyone is learning as we go. We are like teenagers trying to navigate the subtleties of high school for the first time. And we are approaching this change just like teenagers would: with a clear level of apathy that can be alarming at the best of times.
To overcome this breach fatigue, we have to shed that attitude and embrace a more mature approach to the sharing of our personal data. Yes, it can be very convenient to give data in exchange for conveniences but when do you draw the line? When does the idea that “it won’t happen to me” fade and we realize that perhaps there are serious implications and risks to consenting to anybody having a peek into our world?
Makes you think doesn’t it that maybe, just maybe our parents had a point when they said “don’t talk to strangers”?
How to be in charge of our decisions… and our data
Privacy legislation like GDPR and now CCPA are making businesses accountable and ensuring that they are transparent on their practices. Remember those long, legal and boring privacy policies? These regulations are pushing to simplify them so that you and I know exactly what these businesses intend to do with our data. Also, they are making it easier for you and I to raise our hand and let them know when we know that these companies are not living up to their commitment. Let’s use that voice, let’s use that opportunity to fight Goliath because in this day and age, David is not just a kid. David has the power to keep the giant in check.