78.7 F
Washington D.C.
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Navigating Data Use: Striking a Balance Between Profit and Protection

Think of data like treasure—valuable and powerful in today’s world. Different groups, like companies, governments, and people, use data. The key difference is why and how they use it. Companies use data to make money, while the US government uses it to keep people safe from things like terrorism. But figuring out the best way to use data is tricky—it’s like finding a delicate balance.

Companies and the government use data differently because of their goals and methods. Companies, like Google or Facebook, want to make more money and beat their rivals. They collect data about customers to show personalized ads or improve their products. On the other hand, the government, like the NSA or FBI, uses data to protect the country. They might check data to stop crimes or work with other countries.

Now, let’s talk about the problems. Companies using data can be good—they make better products or create jobs. But it can also be bad, like when they invade privacy or discriminate. The government using data is good when it keeps us safe but can be bad if it violates our rights or abuses its power. Let’s look at some real examples of how corporations have failed to find this balance:

  • Experian’s T-Mobile Data Breach (2015): Experian, a credit bureau, faced a breach affecting T-Mobile customers, compromising personal data like names, addresses, and social security numbers.
  • Uber’s Data Breach Cover-Up (2016): Uber concealed a massive data breach that exposed personal information of 57 million users and drivers, leading to legal repercussions.
  • Equifax Data Breach (2017): The credit reporting agency suffered a massive breach, exposing sensitive data of nearly 147 million people, leading to identity theft concerns.
  • Facebook’s Privacy Scandal (2018): Facebook allowed other companies to access personal information without users’ clear permission, breaching trust and privacy.
  • Amazon Ring’s Data Sharing Concerns (2019): Ring was criticized for sharing users’ video footage with third parties, posing privacy risks for individuals captured on camera.
  • Zoom’s Privacy Concerns (2020): As Zoom usage surged during the pandemic, the platform faced criticism for privacy issues, including unauthorized data sharing with Facebook.

On the other side though, corporations and the government have also seen successes in achieving data privacy, such as:

  • EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (2016-2020): The US Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the European Union, established the Privacy Shield framework to protect European citizens’ data when transferred to the United States, ensuring adherence to robust privacy principles.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Implementation (2020): California’s state government enacted the CCPA, granting residents more control over their personal information and requiring businesses to be transparent about data practices.
  • Apple’s Privacy Features (Ongoing): Apple consistently enhances user privacy through features like App Tracking Transparency, giving users control over app data collection and usage.
  • Microsoft’s Privacy Principles (Ongoing): Microsoft emphasizes privacy as a fundamental right, implementing privacy principles across its products and services to safeguard user data.

So, it’s like a seesaw—you need to balance the good and bad. While challenges persist, these examples demonstrate that both the government and corporations can take proactive measures to protect Americans’ data privacy. Ongoing efforts in legislation, frameworks, and corporate initiatives signal a collective commitment to enhancing data protection.

To find the right balance, we need rules and the ability to monitor compliance. Both companies and the government should follow rules to protect our rights and keep things fair. They should work together on things that help everyone, like improving public services or making sure data is safe. Sometimes, they might compete, and that’s okay, as long as it’s fair and clear who owns the data.

In the end, there’s a big difference between companies making money from data and the government using it for safety. But finding the perfect balance is tough. We need both companies and the government to use data carefully and responsibly. The hard part is making sure they respect our privacy, keep things safe, and balance making money with keeping us secure. If they work together, there’s a chance to make the most of data for everyone’s benefit, especially for us, the American people.

author avatar
Shane McNeil
Shane McNeil has a diverse career in the US Intelligence Community, serving in various roles in the military, as a contractor, and as a government civilian. His background includes several combat deployments and service in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where he applied his skills in assignments such as Counterintelligence Agent, Analyst, and a senior instructor for the Joint Counterintelligence Training Activity. He is a Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholar and has a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from the University of North Dakota. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in National Security Policy at Liberty University, studying the transformative impacts of ubiquitous technology on national defense. All articles written by Mr. McNeil are done in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the United States government.
Shane McNeil
Shane McNeil
Shane McNeil has a diverse career in the US Intelligence Community, serving in various roles in the military, as a contractor, and as a government civilian. His background includes several combat deployments and service in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where he applied his skills in assignments such as Counterintelligence Agent, Analyst, and a senior instructor for the Joint Counterintelligence Training Activity. He is a Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholar and has a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from the University of North Dakota. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in National Security Policy at Liberty University, studying the transformative impacts of ubiquitous technology on national defense. All articles written by Mr. McNeil are done in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the United States government.

Related Articles

Latest Articles