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Fond Memories or Surveillance Capitalism

The fitness center I used to go to had started a new routine. The cool thing introduced was to take a picture with the entire group at the end of every session on a daily basis. This picture would serve as a memory to the people who have attended the session and would only appear in the individual's app. The individual is free to share this memory on any social networking site though.

Now, I am not a person who particularly likes to be clicked, but something else bothered me here.I already have an app installed on my cell phone where the details of the sessions I take exists, but the thought of my daily activities being monitored through pictures made me a bit uneasy and also made me dig a little deeper into why exactly we need to be aware of what we are agreeing to and what are the repercussions of the petabytes of data we are producing unknowingly every minute, every second.

Time for some deep thinking now. Heard of the saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words'? Well, its true. Let us imagine a picture has been posted online. While a picture for itself already has a song to sing (details like people, culture and to top it up a notch, geo-tags), what can a bunch of pictures narrate? Can they provide insights or can they be used to train models, or both. throw a colorful tale which the usual data dumps can't. They convey feelings and emotions.This makes them extremely important in the realms of AI-ML world. And what happens when they end up in the wrong hands? Precisely, it is full of dark and terror.

"The goal is to automate us", after skimming through number of articles online, this one liner was my personal favorite and at the same time gave me the chills. Many of us are immune to the fact that whatever goes online stays online forever,(unless of course you use a open source decentralized social network) or worse , ends up being a dataset for a training model. We do not realize that the content we upload, like and share have the power to alter or inculcate new habits, likes and dislikes, traits etc. Most of the time we create data leading to insights without even knowing it.

Maybe I am being over critical on a mere photograph but we can't deny the fact that data is power these days, and with great power comes great responsibility. Let us be responsible of the content we share and the data we create. Let us be aware if our data can be used ever again. Knowing about GDPR, using anti-tracking browsers and search engines(Mozilla Firefox, DuckDuckGo etc) can definitely be a start in this journey. Privacy, at least Data Privacy, is not a privilege. It is a right.

Top comments (1)

theorbitadmin profile image

"The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" is a very impressive book I have to say. We could only imagine, how big tech companies are using our biometrical data. Companies like Recfaces are developing biometrical identification on a high level.

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