Mr Sai Krishna - Chairman, Global Cyber Security Forum speaks on Online Data Security and Privacy
Mr Sai Krishna - Chairman, Global Cyber Security Forum

Data brings in so many new perspectives in today’s hyper-digital landscape. Shop online via amazon stores and the website records your order history and purchase details. Browse over social media or your preferred sites and your contacts get saved for potential targeted advertising promotions. Visit the website of that famous chain of restaurants and get your location data collected by them for their future marketing communications. Data helps the world go around digitally and, believe it or not, it is making real-world encounters simpler. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that your data is always in safe hands.

Mr Sai Krishna, Chairman of Global Cyber Security Forum has said, “Internet advertising companies like Google, Facebook are gaining access to our personal data and they sell our data to advertisers. While the new upcoming data protection and privacy law, the Indian Data Privacy and Protection Law, is gaining momentum to ensure data security since most of us do not even know how to protect our own data online. One cannot imagine the amount of personal data companies like Google and Facebook capture every day. In most cases, the data are in Petabytes. Based on our information, they work with data crunching agencies that create highly personalised ad profiles for every one of us so as to offer advertisers a highly targeted premium ad inventory, which brings them billions of dollars’ worth of revenues. In addition, political parties, data analytics agencies, state-sponsored agencies exploit social media users and data in various ways. You will be surprised to know that Google and Facebook store all of our personal information like location tracking, every search item, phone details, YouTube history, calendars, websites visited, downloads, photos, contacts, relationships, posts, browser passwords and clicks endlessly to the extent of listening to our microphones and watching us through our webcams.”

“Our personal data that we allow these companies to create value earns them approximately per person US $250 for Google, US $225 for Facebook, US $80 for Twitter and US $170 for LinkedIn. This, in turn, brings them the combined enterprise valuation of close to US $19 Billion, which equals to the GDPs of more than 50 African countries. On top of it, Google earns a staggering US $1.83 Billion and Facebook US $1.02 Billion revenues over ads based on our personal data,” he added.  

In addition, though these social media platforms offer personal data privacy control to its users, most of us are ignorant, not just regarding online data security per se, but also about how these companies keep their data sharing rules as the default “Allowed” during user registration. Which, in most cases with a little effort, one can easily secure by just changing their default privacy and security control to “No Storing and Sharing”.

Today, India has half a billion internet users already who generate enormous amounts of data on a daily basis. From the national security perspective, there is a greater risk of selling critical data outside our country to unscrupulous agencies.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the article and the information shared belong solely to the expert in the article and do not necessarily represent those of The Times of Africa and its employees.

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