Personal data – are you sharing too much data?

25 July 2016

I was asked recently to provide my opinion on online privacy for an exhibition that PwC is involved in, 'Our Lives in Data' which opened at the London Science Museum this week.

For me, privacy is all about balancing the benefits with the risks. Take exercise apps, for example, where we’re constantly updating and logging our personal data. It's great to measure personal performance and see if we’re getting faster or slower to our respective sports exchange. And we can share this with our friends and colleagues, especially the ones that go really well.

But this sharing of information is not risk free. Do you want people to know where you live, when you are away from home, which beach you’re lying on, or how much your bike is worth? These are not things we would normally share with total strangers but strangely, in the digital world, many people don’t exercise such caution. In that context, the seemingly innocent tagged photo at the airport could be put to a more sinister use.

And the same applies to our working lives. Do you want to connect with that new prospective customer on a social network and advertise that to your competitors? Have you taken a look at your security settings on social media recently?

Just as some information is for sharing, some data is for sharing but some is not. People need to understand the data they create online and think about how someone else might use it.

That’s why we’re proud to be a major sponsor of the Science Museum’s ‘Our Lives in Data’ exhibition as it’s so relevant to what’s happening today. The exhibition is all about how data is being collected and used and how it’s making changes in the way we live our lives. From toys that can understand a child’s personality and smarter public transport planning to new genomic technology that is helping uncover the causes of rare diseases and cancer, big data's invisible revolution has begun.

With so much data being collected, and the advancement of how this can be analysed, the question around what our data is worth and how we protect it, both personally and professionally, has never been so important.

 

 

 

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