Data Sharing

Scarier than any horror movie?

With GDPR in the news, you may not be surprised that businesses are standing by for lots of questions about how they collect, store and use personal data. The data you willingly shared. Or inadvertently shared.

And organisations that are ethical will already have a clear understanding of their obligations under the new legislation and will be doing everything within their power over the coming weeks to ensure they are transparent. And by transparent we don't mean a 38 page Privacy Statement that sends you off in multiple directions to collate the information you're after.

Small companies are getting anxious that they will be overwhelmed by individuals requesting copies of the data they are holding. Not unfounded since many 'experts' expect there to be a surge of requests. And for small businesses, anything detracting them from the day to day running of the company will likely result in a decline of productivity. And revenue. And maybe even threaten the future of their business.

But, this is all happening at a time when Mark Zuckerburg is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Calling for greater protection of Facebook users data after Cambridge Analytica has stolen it.

And in a time when Amazon's Alexa has filed for a US patent for a 'voice-sniffing' system which would enable it to monitor whole conversations, even if the user had not expressly requested it to.

The device will listen for trigger words like 'hate' and 'love', analysing the following sentences with the claim that it will use that information to recommend products.

What's more, Alexa will build other people's profiles. The Times suggests that 'My Mother loves crosswords' would result in HER profile being updated to include crosswords.

If we're taking the time to carefully consider who has our data and why, maybe we should be looking at the big boys first. The ones we 'trust'. The ones whose Privacy Policies will be in small print. They're the ones that are long, written in jargon and that we frequently click past to get to the end....

And if you own an Alexa, consider this. 'Baby, I love it when you ...' is very probably going to ensure things get more interesting in the bedroom. Just be careful you're in the right bedroom.

Clare Wight

Managing Director

Clarity Appointments is an independent accountancy and office recruitment agency based outside St Neots