Navigating the Shadows: Unravelling Data Theft and Exploitation in the Digital Age | Part 2

Navigating the Shadows: Unravelling Data Theft and Exploitation in the Digital Age | Part 2

Shadow Data Economy, sanctioned and legitimised. (By Samuel)

In this digital age where information is a valuable currency, there exists a dark underbelly where unauthorised data transactions take place, unbeknownst to the unsuspecting individuals whose personal information is at stake. They have signed away their rights long ago. 

According to Weforum in its 2017 report that focuses on shaping the future of Retail, it was revealed that over the next decade, consumers will have more choices and control than ever before. They will be presented with a growing array of products and services customised to their specific preferences. There are new innovative ideas on how to meet up with consumers' expectations especially picking from eCommerce penetration growth ranging from 10% to more than 40%. With all these great consumer and market opportunities, the fact remains that business transformation is not occurring at the pace and scale as it is expected. When checking through consumer data principles, the success of consumer-centric industries is predicated on the exponentially increasing use of consumer data. Recent surveys find that 57% of consumers are concerned with how businesses use their information, with 41% of consumers feeling they need greater transparency into companies to have confidence in their products/ services. To build long-term trust, the industry must carefully protect the privacy and security of consumers’ data and be transparent about how they are utilising it. 

Unfortunately, at the World Economic Forum, Data Resources can be readily obtained or are one of the things you can shop for with paid membership.

Almost comedic if one ignores the sinister irony…..  BELOW FRAMED

World Economic Forum:

1 ) “To become trusted platforms for the use of data, data exchanges will need to incorporate anti-falsification measures such as strong authentication protocols and blockchain-based tracing and verification tools.”

2)  “There is no equivalent of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for data trading, nor are there specific laws governing the practice.”

3) “The world’s rising tide of data can be used for good. But first we need to share it.”

When looking at creating policies around shadow data economies that deter the growing illegal ecosystem from growing seems impossible. Data economy exchanges are pervasive and loaded with a large number of both small and highly dispersed transactions. We might be considering stamping out the entrepreneurship and business formation that goes with it alltogether.

In clear terms, the shadow data economy is a free economic activity of flowing determination and is entirely unregulated except by the participants themselves. 

To have a clear/ transparent system operation, business in a shadow data economy requires alignment on the following principles:

  • Simplify the procedure of consumer data collection and usage procedures in an understandable way. ‘
  • A layout of consumer data ownership coupled with acceptable sharing practices.
  • Reaching consensus on data monetization protocols – Activities that support consumer data security. 

In conclusion, there are huge potential advantages to allowing self-employed and small businesses to formalise their data arrangements. 

The size of the shadow data economies are highly speculative, though estimates might surprise some of us. Imagine a scenario where about 20% of the national income in Italy, Spain, and Greece is dependent on the shadow retail data economy. Shadow data economies spring offspring data branches like a tree whether declared or hidden, the system around traditional retail alone is highly dependent on data, and service still makes up for about half of the Southern EU economies. Profits obtained in data economies translate into spent money in the formal economy.

Monitor Individual’s behaviour with “The point system 2.0” ( by Erlyn Joy)

Talking about potential advantages in a world driven by technological innovation, the example of China's pioneering initiatives in education have sparked global interest, opening doors of discussions around ethics, privacy, and the balance between societal benefits and individual rights. We are talking about the concept of headband registration, which employs advanced technology to streamline attendance tracking in schools. Additionally, the implementation of the Point System 2.0 in Chinese schools has garnered attention for its multifaceted approach to student behaviour and performance assessment. 

The headband registration system, as witnessed in China, utilises devices equipped with RFID or biometric technology to record student attendance in real time. This approach not only enhances efficiency but also minimises errors associated with traditional methods.

  • Pros: Optimised class time, a reduced administrative burden, and improved data accuracy. 
  • Cons: Ethical concerns surrounding privacy and data security, intricacies of implementing such a system while ensuring the protection of students' sensitive information.

Simultaneously, the Point System 2.0—a comprehensive evaluation framework—aims to holistically assess students' behaviour, academic performance, and character development. By awarding or deducting points based on various criteria, this system encourages students to cultivate desirable qualities beyond academic excellence. 

At least in theory…

While this approach can foster a well-rounded educational experience, it also sparks discussions about standardization, indoctrination, subjectivity, and the potential for unintended consequences. It needs to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the Point System 2.0 in promoting holistic growth and encouraging positive student conduct. 

Digital Personality in the 21st century (by Ipek)

Each of us today builds and embodies our own digital personality. As we engage with social media, browse the internet, and interact with various online platforms, we leave behind a trail of digital footprints that collectively form our digital personality: a person's public image is the 'persona' or social role a person adopts. This new facet of identity transcends geographical boundaries, allowing us to connect, share, and communicate in ways that were once unimaginable. In such a context, understanding and managing our digital personalities become increasingly important. 

For many years, attempts have been made to categorize us based on our footprint on the Internet. Moreover, we are unaware we have permitted most of this data collection.

Everyone who surfs the Internet is a source of data. And big data sells our information to companies that manipulate us in every field.

According to Digital Personality Analysis, people can be categorized into 5 main groups.

Social Questioner: They don't cooperate on social media.

Social Lurker: A social media follower who rarely participates in collaboration.

Social Dipper: A social media participant. Selectively uses the Internet for commercial purposes.

Social Athlete: An active user. He is active on many social media platforms at the same time.

Social Nurturer: A social nurturer is an active participant and leader who encourages conversations and directs social participation.

Campaigns targeting these 5 public profiles are being carried out in awareness studies conducted via social media.

In determining your digital personality, every online movement is converted into meaningful data—the social media platforms you use to collect the words and emojis in your posts.

This interesting article in neuroscience news explains that the words, likes, and reposts you use on Twitter give many clues about your intelligence, social, and mental state. Combining your data with machine learning can create meaningful predictions about your personality traits.

Again, according to some research, your emojis contain important clues about your personality. Does anyone not use emojis? The first article I recommend for curious people is “Assessing personality using emoji.” and To Express or End? for another comprehensive research on our use of emojis.

We've all gotten used to the rain of sneaker ads for months after reviewing one sneaker. This is the most innocent harassment that those who sell our data put us through. Data analytics that work much deeper, manipulate your political preferences, and even influence elections are scary.

Please don't think I'm making up a conspiracy theory. Let me give an example from another article that makes me nervous.

Edward Brown (I'm quoting from his bio) is an SEO expert dedicated to helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.

In his article Brown mentions an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The smartphone application called PEACH (Personality Coach) aims to support and guide those who want to change a personality trait with the help of digital technology.

E. Brown says, "Our most recent work focuses on identifying and modifying certain personality traits, such as the capacity for self-control, through digital technology. Since digital interventions for personality change have proven effective, they can be applied in many non-clinical settings due to their low thresholds and technical scalability." Edward is talking about a voluntary personality trait modification program, and I'm afraid to go one step further and have this modification imposed on me somehow. Is it too similar to Big Brother in 1984?



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