The media consistently warn us about sharing our data; warn us about organizations using our data. Even sharing data with your own Government is considered bad. But why?
Of course organizations need to safeguard our data and use it responsibly. We also need these organizations to be upfront about how they will use our data. However, nobody ever points out the advantages; and we just hear about the drawbacks and the problems.
Some years ago, I started my own company and the Irish Government saw enough potential to give us some small grants to help us on our way. To apply for the grant, we had to write letters, giving permission to other government departments to share my records with the government department, which would give us the grant (to verify that I was not in receipt of any other grants, social welfare or similar). Think of the inefficiency, cost, delays, etc… because of this process. This kind of government inefficiency costs me money, because it comes from the income tax that I pay.
If I have to pay tax for inefficiencies, why don’t we share information to increase efficiency and reduce my tax bill? Part of my tax bill could give access to my personal data. I feel that access to my wallet is as invasive as access to my data.
Since my data is so valuable, I would consider giving access to my data if organizations compensate me with discounts and incentives. I would even choose to give my business to organizations who value my data more and treat it with respect. Instead of a Business to Customer relationship, we could have a Customer to Customer relationship.
There are people out there who say that trusting any organization with our data is not very wise. Organizations will not store it safely and will misuse it. However, how many of us share our lives on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Who “Checks in” to locations on social media? How many pictures of your children do you share on social media? How many organizations have you given access to your credit card details? If you have any social media accounts, within a couple of minutes, I should be able to find out: Where you work; How much you earn (roughly); Where you like to go on holidays; Where you went to school; What are your interests; How many times you checked into Starbucks, etc…
So, let us have a proper conversation about personal data and how it can help governments and organizations and how valuable it could be.