Contributed by Glen
As health workers, we learn it is imperative to maintain confidentiality with patients. When a patient first seeks support from the agency, among the paperwork required, is a jointly signed confidentiality form that, without their authorisation, personal details won’t be shared with anyone else.
Often the data we compile is anonymised, meaning their information can never be used in a manner that is identifies them, let alone is detrimental to the person.
But what about the information people share when they sign up with corporations for reward cards, or if they communicate with on line sites?
This leads us into a frightening new world where corporations obtain and share your information, totally beyond your control.
The commercialisation of knowledge, re what you like/dislike is a feature of contemporary capitalism. When you sign up for your loyalty card with a corporation like Dan Murphy’s or Country Road, are you aware of what information is eventually obtained, with how far it may go?
Ditto, when you’re using your twitter or Instagram account, or hitting the like button on Facebook. Do you control how, and with whom, your information/details are shared around?
The issue of privatisation of the ‘general intellect’, collective knowledge in all its forms is one we should be cognisant of.
In the past, there were always concerns that the ubiquitous Government, AKA Big Brother, was snooping around collecting unwanted information.
But what now of the role of big corporations, who aim to know what we think, to then direct their advertising at us? How many people know of the data firm Quantium, which has apparently data sets on 20 plus Million Australians, in partnerships with corporations like Woolworths, Facebook and Foxtel, is sharing your details?
So, if a big corporation wants to know how many of us like a certain brand of beer, or touring at a certain resort, they can go on Facebook to see the last 10 people who have hit the required like(s). If your one of them, they will target their advertising to you, though at the same time they’ll be accessing all the other data recorded at about you. Are you giving them permission for this? You don’t need to, once these big corporations have obtained what they need to know about you and shared it with whoever else they may be in partnership with?
And if we’re still worried about the ubiquitous Big Brother, the shady government security agencies, what information are they exchanging with the big corporations?
Maybe we need to be more grateful of what people like Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning, have discovered about these shady operations.
So next time you like an item on a web site, or sign up for a loyalty card, be conscious of who may be viewing you, and the purpose of their interest.