Today The Intercept reported that the personal details of nearly all of the over 200 million registered voters in the United States was leaked by a data mining company working for the US Republican Party. The data contains everything from home and mailing addresses and self-reported racial demographic to “computer ‘modeled’ speculation about each person’s race and religion”.
This is yet another example of why collections of your personal data online need to have guarantees for transparency. These aren’t anonymized collections with hypothetical users built out of collected mass data; these are names, addresses, and phone numbers. As gigantic Silicon Valley companies argue for the continued ability to collect user data without transparency or consent to serve more advertisements, data often winds up on open file servers for anyone to download.
At the DPA, we do certainly understand the value and usefulness of large datasets. From health and safety to civic services to environmental impact analyses, there’s plenty of good, honest uses of this data. However, without any oversight or guidance, the private sector as a whole is showing itself to be a poorer and poorer steward of the data you entrust others with when you conduct your life online.
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