The value of data
Information – data – is supposed to be the critical “raw material” for the economy, business and society heading into the future. We must therefore conclude that data have value.
We know from experience that if goods and services are not scarce or do not have a price, they will be spoiled or misused. Damaging misallocations occur especially when such goods or services are under the control of the state, appropriated by the public or subsidized.
Personal data are now collected by many people and organizations, for various reasons.
Governments, public agencies and supranational institutions are requiring an ever-increasing amount of “transparency” from individuals and companies, frequently overstepping individuals’ right to privacy, a human right. Unfortunately, governments frequently distrust their own people – a phenomenon becoming more and more common in the West’s so-called “liberal democracies.”
The result is a strange state of affairs: Individuals are increasingly forced to be fully accountable and transparent to the authorities. This is a complete reversal of the basic principle that governments must be accountable to the citizen, who also has the right to privacy and protection against arbitrary intrusion from the government.
The hypocritical justification given for this illicit but forced collection of data is crime prevention. Of course, the practice does not prevent crime, but the information does help in prosecuting criminals. It is doubtful, however, that such prosecutions justify government surveillance, intrusion into citizens’ everyday lives and putting the general population under a blanket of suspicion …
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The value of data
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