You cannot control your online identity
A harsh reality from our WordPress Consulting: We often imagine that our digital identity is defined by the personal data that we publish voluntarily on socials media. But according to the Panoptykon Foundation, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine for a minute that you are exceptionally careful about your personal data. You have actually configured Facebook and Instagram to protect yourself to the maximum. You never ever post an image of your face and you have actually even gotten in a bad birthday to rush the tracks. In other words, you have the impression that you control your digital identity and you’re a web ninja.
You have it all wrong. Undoubtedly, the data that you post online is just a noticeable part of a huge iceberg. According to the Panoptykon Foundation (a Polish NGO that has an interest in our data), and its chart, our online identity is defined by three layers of data.
Your online identity in layers
The very first layer of identity is the one we pointed out above. This is all that is communicated by means of socials media and applications. Our research, the notes and comments we leave, our passwords, our gender, our contacts or our pals … the list is already long and excellent, however, that’s not all.
The second layer has to do with our online habits and the metadata we leave behind. This consists of material you do not know, time invested in an app, the motion of your fingers or your mouse, your journey on the internet (the way you go from one site to another). This second layer will also tape-record the amount of information you have actually downloaded, your SMS history, or simply the kind of gadget you have.
By putting together these two layers, the algorithms will then produce the 3rd level of data. This level is a little “what machines think of you”. It collects presumed information such as your health, your intelligence quotient, your level of education, your location in society, your political opinions, your religion, your sexual orientation, your consumption routines, your family circumstance, etc. In other words, it is your digital self that allows you to much better target your needs from a marketing viewpoint.
WordPress Consulting : Uncontrollable information …
Panoptykon Foundation highlights, that the last two layers of identity are totally out of control – and for good reason! Nobody wants to give that kind of details in a mindful way to a private company or to a state (or several or all of them interested in that data set). To overcome this absence of cooperation, the algorithms will attempt to “guess” your digital double based on the very 1st and 2nd layer of your digital SELF.
Depending on the result, the platforms you use gives you access to various content. In the United States, banks, insurance coverage or health services alter their behaviour based upon this reflection. In China, these components make it possible to calculate the well-known social score that determines your location in society.
… and sometimes tragic mistakes
The problem with this system is that it is mainly based upon statistical connections. This means that the devices are often incorrect and produce a double that is rarely real to the truth. To be persuaded, simply look at the page of your preferences on Google or Facebook. You may find a good variety of profile errors. In these cases, it is not very severe. Nevertheless, this lack of precision in some cases results in more dramatic consequences. In an article back in 2016, Wired told the number of individuals have actually been victims of algorithmic confusion. They were either withdrawing their driver’s licenses or receiving recalls of child assistance payments when they did not have kids. For Michal Kosinski, Stanford professor and inspirer of the innovation utilized by Cambridge Analytica, “some info is made to remain secret. He refers in specific to the real or false deduction of homosexuality in a country that does not endure this sexual orientation.
” If you are an irregular being, it is possible that the algorithms misinterpret your behaviour,” says Katarzyna Szymielewicz, president of the Panoptykon Foundation. It can make errors about your work, your solvency or your rights to cross a border for example. If the system is wrong, it will not be changed. You are just a drop of information in an ocean with billions.
Provided the absence of control, there is just one option: transparency. According to RSA Data Privacy and Security Survey, only 45% of French individuals think that the ethical use of their information by the business is possible.