You Are Being Robbed, And You Totally Agreed To It

WHEN “THEFT” IS LEGAL

Have you ever gotten such a good deal on something that when telling someone about it, you said you “stole” it?

“It was a steal.”

“It was such a great deal, I stole it.”

You know you didn’t actually “steal” it, but we say “stole” because the party we got it from either didn’t realize how valuable it was, or they were willing to just give the value away for some reason or trade-off. But regardless of reason, the value exchanged is so weighted in your favour that you almost feel like you stole it from them.

YOUR VALUE IS BEING STOLEN EVERY DAY
BECAUSE YOU LITERALLY AGREED TO IT

You probably don’t know it, but your value is being “stolen” from you every day, both because you don’t realize how valuable you are and because you are willing to just give your value away for some other reason or trade-off.

Big companies you’ve never heard of called “data brokers” are collecting all kinds of data on you from your car, your mobile device, your connected appliances, your online activities, your communications and more, and they are making BILLIONS selling it to the highest bidder.

You know those social platforms you use all the time… well, they got you to click the “I Agree” button when you joined and that button gave them permission to track everything you say and do there, which creates a “profile” on you that they use to sell to the highest bidder and it makes them BILLIONS too.

So where is your cut from all these billions being made off YOUR data?

The truth is, they got it for a “steal” because you gave your cut away.

You give it away every day because you don’t realize how valuable it is, and you are willing to give it away as a trade-off for something you think you’re getting for “free” in exchange.

NOTHING IS “FREE”

But we all know nothing in life is truly “free”… especially when you click an “I Agree” button.

When you click that button you not only give away the immense value of your data, you also give away your personal freedom – your privacy.

These platforms say they collect your data to “help improve the platform”… well, have you seen an improvement in the platforms you are on? Or is it the opposite?

They have more data than ever, yet user satisfaction is declining. People’s dissatisfaction is a reflection that these platforms care more about making money than they care about YOU, so the platform is designed to engage you as much as it can in order to make them money, not to make your experience more enjoyable or healthy.

Do you think BoobTube will stop showing ads in the middle of a great video you’re watching because you don’t like having your viewing experience rudely interrupted by ads?

Not a chance. Because it makes them money. Until it doesn’t any more.

IT’S TOO LATE – YOU’VE ALREADY AGREED

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it for now because you’ve already agreed to all these things, so you can’t stop them from making money from your data (save leaving the platform).

You agree to it whenever you click “I Agree” without even reading what you agreed to every time you join a platform.

And, you agree to being tracked even more whenever you click to agree on a site that warns they use cookies – without asking what cookies are, or how many of them there are, or what they are doing or who owns them.

Disconnect browser addon
EXAMPLE: nytimes.com – click for larger view

As an example, try out this cookie visualization tool called Disconnect that shows very cool representations of all the cookies tracking you from whatever site you are on (Chrome, Firefox, Safari and mobile). It’s very cool but VERY scary, not just from the shear number of cookies tracking you, but more so because of who owns them. You’ve probably never heard of 99.9% of the companies tracking you, but most of them are massively profitable businesses, making big money off YOUR data (website, location, date & time, on-site activity, duration of stay, referrer, etc, etc, etc.).

One thing we all know for sure though, is that your cut for producing all that data that makes them rich….  is ZERO.

…ZERO.

Multiply that by a million, and it’s still ZERO.

You ain’t gettin’ no check from nobody. ZILTCH. ZILTCHAMILLIOMUNDO.

They value you that much.

And if you think that using adblockers works to stop or eliminate any of this, think again. There are THOUSANDS of sites that adblockers have whitelisted that potentially also have Facebook “Like” buttons or Google Analytics – each of which continues to track you through cookies.

So it seems then, that in some weird, crazy universe (ours), that the one thing that is designed to help reduce the power of the mega-media-corp’s big-brother-dom, actually makes them even more powerful and pseudo-omnipotent, by weeding out their competition for them.

PRICELESS.

And speaking of priceless…

DATA IS THE NEW OIL…? UH-OH.

You may have heard the phrase “data is the new oil“?

Well, if you consider that phrase from a dollar-value perspective, it makes sense that whomever controls most of the oil will probably also want to control most of the data too.

Maybe that’s why the Saudis are building a mega-smart-city that is orders of magnitude larger than New York City (it’s 10,200 square MILES in size – a quarter of the size of New York State) in the middle of the desert – completely dependent and run on big data (thus the “smart” part of mega-smart-city). They claim this project will “shape a new, inspiring era for human civilization” that will be “unconstrained by history”.

That’s big. That’s bigger than Elon Musk big, and all he wants to do is colonize Mars.

So what is clear is that data has the power to transform society, even greater than oil did.

Here’s the really scary part: As Ajay Banga, CEO of MasterCard said at the 2017 Future Investment Symposium (in Saudi Arabia) in the session titled “Data-driven world: The future of the information economy” (bolded for emphasis) – “… I consider data to be a public good…“, speaking about how data should be public property that can be used for social good as well as for economic prosperity.

That’s all well-intentioned and good, but what is scary about that is – who is going to control all that data that is considered to be a public good?

Because if “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, then “absolute data power corrupts data absolutely”. And corrupted data mixed with corrupted power can do a lot of damage.

Control of the data is therefore a key issue, because if data is the new oil, then you are currently being robbed of a very valuable commodity.

DATA SLAVERY?

Our data is probably the only commodity in the history of world that we personally produce and don’t get paid for.

It seems we are merely data-slaves for our data-masters. They give us just enough breadcrumbs to survive so we don’t rebel (free access – woooooooooo) and as long as they keep us from realizing our own true value and power, they can maintain control of our data.

YOUR IGNORANCE IS THEIR SURVIVAL

Most of these businesses SURVIVE on you not knowing or realizing your own value, or not caring about it. That’s why they literally hide it away in impossibly long, obscure, obfuscated legalese documents that they know you will probably never read and that are only linked to on pages that clicking through to would cause you to be frustratingly interrupted during their meticulously researched and designed flow of getting you to sign up – all in the name of “usability”.

“Here, let’s just make this easy for you – no need to worry about the fine print.”

If you actually read Facebook’s Terms of Use, you’ll find that they call your content “Intellectual Property” (ie: value-based asset) that you grant a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to, for their use.

Royalty-free. License. Why would they need to “license” something “royalty-free” if it had no value?

The fact is that it does have value – massive value. And that massive value earns them a Market Cap of over $250 Billion per year.

But be clear; there is nothing wrong with a company being excellent at what they do so well that it makes them billions of dollars. Capitalism rules, but as they say… “let the buyer beware“.

What’s wrong with all this is that we have been so entrained by the process and promise of equal value exchange that we have become apathetic to not receiving it. We know that we are being tracked and profited from, but our cognitive bias lets us believe that the forfeiture of our value and privacy is less than the price of “free access” to the things we’ve grown addicted to.

We couldn’t be more wrong. Or delusional.

We need to wake the F up.

THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Short of going completely offline and getting off the grid (which sounds very romantically enticing and idealistic), there is one thing you CAN do about this state we are in…

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL DATA

WTF does that mean?

Firstly, what it DOESN’T mean, is that you can tell your favourite mega-media-corp to stop collecting your data and making money from it (unless you’re in the EU, thanks to GDPR, but that’s a whole other post). As we’ve established above, you’ve already agreed to let them do it and it will be a while before they change anything about what you’ve agreed to, unless, of course, it’s in their favour.

What it DOES mean, is that you CAN wake the F up, by getting EDUCATED on your personal value and privacy rights and to start using new tools and technologies that help you to take control of your personal data and privacy.

These new tools allow YOU to control and earn money from your data – not the data-masters.

Sure, the data-masters can still earn money from some of your data (from their own data scraper or platform), but YOU can earn a lot of money from ALL of your data created by ALL of the thoughts and content you post and from ALL the other things you use that collect your data and send it to someone else to profit from, like your car, your devices, your interconnected appliances, or your communications.

Why not just TRACK YOURSELF and earn money from your data for YOUR PROFIT?

Why don’t YOU become your own data-master?

REALIZE YOUR TRUE VALUE

Once you start to realize just how valuable you, your data and your opinions truly are, you will no longer accept being a data-slave to the data-masters and you will demand new rules of engagement.

New technologies like blockchain – the technology that Bitcoin is built on – allow you to lock down your personal data NOW with military-grade encryption AND add a license agreement to it (called a “smart-contract”) that can say “if anyone you approve wants to access that piece of data, then you immediately get paid for it”. Immediately – no waiting or begging for your money – it’s in your account immediately. What’s more, you will also know who, when and why they accessed your data. Or, you can deny them access to it.

How’s that for control?

If “information is power”, then your information is your power. But only if YOU CONTROL IT.

THANK THE LEGAL SYSTEM

If you pay very close attention to what the Facebook Terms of Use says, you’ll understand that this is KEY;

“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared…”

…that, along with the ability for 3rd-party apps to manage your content and data for you (FB conveniently calls your data “information” here to help obscure the implication of its value)…

“…the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.”

…this is your “killer clause” that lets you take control and actually posses the data you produce, and pass it on to another party (application or service) to help manage and monetize your data for you.

ALL social and account-based platforms have a clause similar to this. They CAN’T own your data.

If any Terms of Use said that THEY own the content and data you produce, it would make THEM liable for anything you do or say on the platform. The way it is now, YOU are liable for anything you do or say on the platform – they just host it for you, liability free for them, and royalty-free for you.

But it no longer has to be that way…

MIDATA can help you through it (click here to see how), or you can check out any one of our top competitors in the list below. I don’t care who you use, I just think you should start to control your data, before we all lose the ability to do so.

DATA MANAGEMENT COMPANIES


Post courtesy of: Taylor Ann Wright 


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