Is it too late for online privacy?

Okay here’s my Saturday thought. Not something people want to discuss or say but is it too late for privacy?

Everyday a new story breaks of how personal data is being scraped used and misused and we learn of illegal and questionable practices. Invariably, the regulatory action that follows is reactive.

These companies are clever and big enough to know they are breaking the law or are walking a very fine line, deliberately. The exploit the the grey areas and unsuspecting and uneducated subjects. They wait to see if the regulators are catching up with them. Their’s is a risk based approach. The calculate if they will be caught and if so how much will they be fined and whether this fine will be more than the revenue they have earned from the violation?

The risk vs reward for them is good and is working out in their favour. The paltry fines so far levied are not punitive nor corrective and therefore, the illegal and questionable processing is likely to continue. Add to this the shocking apathy of consumers, the millennials and children about their privacy and risks from abuse of their personal dat.

So what chances are there for privacy and protection of our data, especially with the march of ever intrusive technology into our homes, and all other aspects of life?

Last weeks last quarter results from Facebook shows how privacy scandals are not affecting user perception or online behaviour. A year marred in privacy scandals and yet they have increased new monthly users. I can understand the rest of the world but in Europe  at the height of awareness with newly arrived data protection regulation. You would think there would be an impact and a drop in user take-up?

“In light of the social network’s recent controversies, there were a few surprises in the figures: The number of monthly Facebook users was steady in the U.S., with spikes in the Asia-Pacific region. Perhaps most surprisingly, they also rose in the European Union — where the company has endured the brunt of criticism over privacy related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and uncertainty over General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.”

And then in the same week we have another story breaking about the largest personal dat dump in history, of eye watering 2.2 billion records! If these are unique records then thats one third of humanity!

“Less than a fortnight after the Collections #1 data leak with over 770 million email IDs and 22 million passwords, the Collections #2-5 data dump have made its way to the Interweb. Carrying unimaginable 2.2 billion usernames and associated passwords, the new data dump is claimed to include 845GB of stolen data, including as many as 25 billion records, an online report revealed. “

So it already too late for privacy?