We daily use devices and apps that compile data about our activity. From the steps we take to the hours we sleep or how much time we spend working on our computer, who is the owner of the data we generate?
In a BuzzFeed article, this question was asked and many complaints from users where collected asking to be the real owners of the information they generate.
Although the common feeling is that the data we created when we use wearables are not too private, truth be told this is information is as valuable and personal as a picture.
Normally, this data is stored on servers from device manufacturing companies. But they don’t make it easy and they reduce the capacity of users to manage their data as they believe not many people is really interested in that and, as the article states, this way the companies make sure users don’t take this information to their competence.
Most companies allow their users to export their data, many times prior payment. The result is great amounts of data presented in a way where they are not accessible to most users. However, at the same time, they are experiencing a gradual opening to answer the demands of clients that want to share data with other services.
Users look for alternatives
Users themselves look for alternatives to make of data a more understandable piece of information. From movements like Quantified-self, they are building their own tools to extract and give meaning to data. Also, community projects are being created where users share data and conclusions and build new things.
But, what if the day comes when it’s too expensive or technically impossible to export such data? Data must be always at users’ disposal to export them, analyse them or delete them according to their needs. And, the same way, users must claim for their rights as the only ones with the right to decide where, how and for how long their data are stored.
The right to decide over our data
Every day we generate huge amounts of information, but the curious thing is that they don’t belong to us. Users are not the only ones that must have the capacity to decide what happens to their data at all times. Any company compiling information from users must have the ethical commitment to guarantee that the privacy rights of all users are fully respected.
Translation by Pablo Velázquez