The New York Times nails it: “personal data is the oil of the digital age.” It has a price, and it serves as currency. Except that we’re all expected to give it away in return for services like Facebook or Gmail, which we believe is a fair trade. Or we don’t think about it whether the value is commensurate with what we’re getting in return.
This is why I pulled the plug on my original Facebook profile (through a “public execution” on New Day Northwest), precisely because I have begun to think about the value of my personal data (as stated here). This has compelled a few of my friends asked whether I would ever post photos of my kids again.
I will do so infrequently, but will post them in a way that I retain full ownership (and a modicum of legal control) over them — such as on this blog.
Then I will share that post’s URL on Facebook — as I’ve done here. It doesn’t get a royalty-free license over my photo, it can’t make money off of it, and it will not subject it to facial recognition algorithms. Read the insightful Photo Sharing and Face Tagging — Who Can You Trust? for more on the consequences of social networking terms of service.
My wife took this particular photo with her iPhone; she uses it as her screen saver. This singular image tells the complete story of the joy and tribulations of parenthood.
All of this had inspired me to come up with my own (work-in-progress) Terms of Service for my personal data:read more