DailyPost 547


In the cacophony all around over Privacy, still the moot question nagging everyone’s mind is, given the state of crash commercial exploitation of data, no clear methods to use, can Privacy prevail? If the answer is yes, how will be made to happen? The proverbial genie is out and nobody knows how to control it. The users are not going to change their habits. The IT biggies also seem to be on the same mode, the lust for billions coming in the way. Will they have the conscience & the courage to do it? Who will bell the cat, in the vitiated business & who would regulate to our satisfaction? Questions galore & answers none.

Zuckerberg’s apology has no meaning. Data harvesting is taking place a manner we can’t even imagine. The statutes are hell bent on defining Personally Identifiable Information, PII, how will it play out in reality? Path breaking technological advances; big data analysis & artificial intelligence, what is or is not PII is contested. With technical prowess at their command, they have the capability of transforming the most benign data into PII.

Creativity in legal enactment in this regard has to take giant strides to make any dent in the already murky situation. The legal – digital interface has to initiated, created & made robust. The law needs to be re-imagined to suit contemporary techniques of data analysis, is the crux of the matter. While Exit Polls are banned, the Cambridge Analytica revelations have to be factored in & vehemently enforced, for fairness to prevail.

Algorithms are the killer. How do you control the Algorithms? Anybody can undo the best of the laws & enforcement mechanism in a jiffy. Hyper-segmentation emanating out of social media profiling creates a consumer base for political messaging. It has happened. With machine learning, takes targeting of individuals to a totally different level; nano-targeting can zoom in precisely on one individual. Reinforcing, social & cultural segregation and exclusion is fairly accepted now. Endless tools!


Sanjay Sahay

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