This post is originally published in Medium.
We are constantly hearing such news where our identities, our information are strewn all over like a piece of trash, albeit a very expensive trash. More often than not, companies who are responsible for this insure and insulate themselves, leaving the affected parties, the individuals high and dry. In addition to this, lot of companies today amass baffling amount of personal data in the name of providing better, personalized service that it feels unnerving, unsettling, somewhat like an intrusion. This data not only includes information which can directly identify an individual like their name, address, phone number etc. but also passive information such as their habits, likes, dislikes which seem harmless at first but a large volume of disparate data when pieced together over a period of time becomes a potent identity of an individual. For instance, the online viewing habits can be co-related to purchasing, locations data can determine where people are in the day, where they sleep at night. As per one article, supposedly anonymous browsing data can be easily de-anonymized, and a mere 10 URLs can be enough to uniquely identify someone. Not only are these companies collecting these data, they are also monetizing on our “anonymized” data by sharing and selling the data without the consent or in most of the cases without the knowledge of the individuals.
One reason our digital identities are being treated this way is from the very beginning of internet days, all identities be it individuals, machines or organizations are all treated as binaries, a whole lot of 1’s and 0’s. It is time to change this, and we as individuals take more control of our “I”dentity.