In robotic evolution terms we’ve still not reached the heights of K-9 in the Doctor Who series. It’s been over 40 years since the mechanised mutt appeared alongside Tom Baker in the Episode The Invisible Enemy (1977). Since then, the world has still changed dramatically, especially in how we use data.
In an article by Hugo Rifkind, published in the Times Newspaper in January 2018, There’s no way to keep our personal data safe (registration required to read) paints a sobering picture of “The Invisible Enemy” of our data and how it can be used way beyond its intended purpose.
Rifkind articulates how fitness devices have revealed military secrets, how doxing has been used for ‘good’ and evil and how to gain family insights from a speaker system. It’s all a bit scary and none of it illegal, just very unethical.
Even fully anonymised information or data not directly linked to individuals could be used by unscrupulous people for nefarious profiling and companies contributing to the Internet of Things will need to investigate how they protect their consumers from this expanding threat.
It’s for these very reasons that the new General Data Protection Regulation was created. The use of data is far beyond where it is was in 1998 when the last Data Protection Act was enacted in the UK. We all need to become more data savvy, know where our data is and work out whether there is anything we need to do to protect ourselves.
Organisations across the world are, or should be, working to comply with this challenging regulation by 25 May 2018, which includes how they use profiling (e.g. spending habits, internet browsing) and being more open about what they are doing.
However, the new law does not directly address the issue of doxxing so we each have a battle with the Invisible Enemy.