Data privacy

It could not be more timely to have my piece on data privacy published in THE SCOTSMAN amid the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. It has become a constant struggle for modern days internet users not to be exploited by corporates, governments, and advertisers, and other malicious bodies. As the scale of digitisation grows, dangers and risks in a real society are increasingly reflected on the internet. We can no longer exclude ourselves from what happened in a virtual world as the intermingle of the virtual and the real society intensifies. Like it or not, data literacy is a must-have skill for survival today. The challenge is, data literacy is still very much in its infancy and is being updated everyday (if not every second). How do we keep ourselves constantly updated, informed and up-skilled?

Strava has revealed more information about their ‘Global Heatmap’ feature, which enables “athletes from around the world” to discover new places to be active. As of today, I found a pop-up window advising about the heatmap and the data it reflects before people click to view it:

The heatmap shows ‘heat’ made by aggregated, public activities over the last two years.
The heatmap is updated monthly.
Activity that athletes mark as private is not visible.
Athletes may opt out by updating their privacy settings.
Areas with very little activity may not show any ‘heat.’
Visit the Strava blog to learn more or close this window to explore the heatmap.

While this is helpful, I think more emphasis on data privacy should be placed in the blurb. Users need to know how this feature (and other features or the whole app) concerns their privacy. We need to push digital companies to look into the ‘P’ word (privacy) more.


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