Return on shared data: the counter to the cloud Big Brother

The discussion about privacy in cloud services is focusing on the wrong issues, argues official blogger Adelina Peltea

Adelina Peltea, one of the official bloggers at NEXT Berlin, explores the consequence of our self-created Big Brother…

Decades ago, George Orwell published a sci-fi book called 1984, describing a world where “the Party” was permanently tracking what everyone was doing and saying, which seems like a nightmare for us today. “Big Brother is watching you!” is most probably something we would not want to experiment with…

However, with all the technologies in recent years and the rise of the app-economy, we choose to share our data, our life, in increasing detail. We share our thoughts; we check-in to different places we visit; we share our network of contacts; we upload pictures and videos; we use apps that track our everything… And all the data about us is there, in the cloud, managed by different businesses that gave us the tools to track and share and upload.

We have created a Big Brother with the innocent belief that it is worth it, that what we get out of our data is relevance in a highly crowded informational world.

For example: we share data in return for offers available at your location and search results adapted to your search history; for self-management help (examples: calendars, task lists, cycling tracking), and last but not least, to satisfy our need for belonging and self-esteem (example: sharing pictures with your friends on a social network). Sometimes you hear us concerned about our privacy, but the facts show that we do not really care.

So rather than talking about privacy, we should talk about Return-Of-Shared-Data – this is what we actually care about.

Photo by Thomas Leuthard on Flickr and used under a Creative Commons licence