The concept of data ownership can be very complex. Data ownership mostly depends on the person who created the data and the platform used by them. For instance, if you click a picture on your smartphone, then it is your intellectual property. However, data created over the cloud may have some strings attached. Such data may not be entirely owned by any user. Hence, ensuring the privacy of data has become very difficult. That’s because legal processes haven’t adapted to private internet entities yet.
Chuck Palahniuk, in his classic book, ‘Fight Club’, writes, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s*it we don’t need,”. We are witnessing this exact phenomenon with highly effective marketing strategies. Advertisements are manipulating us into buying new products that we may or may not really need. Since such marketing strategies are based on large volumes of data, they can make accurate predictions and manipulate customers. In this manner, we allow algorithms to make decisions for us. And, this is not a new phenomenon. Algorithms and machines have been assisting doctors in decision-making for years. Doctors and patients rely on multiple devices while diagnosing critical disorders.
To create effective regulations, governments and lawmakers must be informed about modern technologies such as AI, big data, and IoT. They must be educated on the technicalities that are involved in implementing such technologies. After learning about these technologies, lawmakers can collaborate with experienced professionals to create regulations. These rules can deter the collection of data for malicious intent. It can protect personal privacy and simplify the use of modern technologies for the benefit of everyone.
Governments can develop regulations to ensure that companies that own data are transparent about what data they collect, how they plan to use it, and who can access it. Such details can be disclosed to people while they are signing up for a new app or website with the help of ‘Terms and Conditions.’ Users should also have the choice to opt-in for voluntary data collection. For instance, while signing up for a new e-commerce website, customers can choose whether they want to allow the website to collect their data for marketing purposes. Additionally, governments can ask people for suggestions while developing regulations.
With effective data ownership regulations, governments can ensure that businesses utilize confidential data ethically. However, only creating regulations is not enough. Users like us must be aware of the value of our data and avoid simply giving away our confidential data to businesses. In this manner, we can ensure that we own our data and our data doesn’t own us