HP Tech@Work
Today's trends for tomorrow's business
who-really-owns-your-data

Who Really Owns Your Data?

The ethics around digital privacy are getting murkier

We are being watched. This isn’t paranoia—in the past year we’ve seen dozens of headlines warning us that our personal data is being collected, even as the CEOs of Big Tech argue that our interests and preferences are safe on their platforms. “We don’t sell people’s data, even though it’s often reported that we do,” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve stayed focused on the products and features that make privacy a reality—for everyone,” Google’s Sundar Pichai later penned in the New York Times.

But can data privacy even exist in a world where the data we produce is being constantly monitored? Most people understand and accept that if you search Google for a new hairbrush, you may start seeing hairbrush ads. But what about Google marketing to you by scanning your FitBit data (which Google now owns) or accessing your medical records (as they did with their controversial Project Nightingale)? And what happens when medical professionals need to access your records and are told you don’t own that information anymore?

How Americans view surveillance

If you feel like you’re under surveillance, you’re not alone. A study of 4,272 Americans by Pew Research shows that most people don’t like their data being collected but don’t know how to stop it:

  • 6-in-10 people think that both businesses and the government are collecting their personal data on a daily basis
  • 8-in-10 feel like the data collection is out of their control
  • A majority don’t understand what is being done with their data
  • Social media and smart speaker data collection had the lowest approval rates
  • Conversely, data sharing that was done for a specific purpose—such as sharing student data to improves schools, or collecting data to avert terrorist threats—garnered positive approval ratings

While these numbers aren’t surprising, they also show how big tech companies haven’t assuaged our worries about trading off our personal information for online conveniences, such as Amazon logins on third-party sites. In fact, a majority consider data collection very risky:

  • 81% think the risk of companies collecting their data outweighs the benefit
  • 66% feel the same way about government-collected data

Behavioral biometrics and ethical issues

How about companies that monitor your behavioral biometrics, such as how long you pause on a web page, or your typing patterns, or how happy (or mad, or frustrated) you sound when you ask your voice assistant a question? (Last summer Jeff Bezos admitted to congress that Amazon holds on to your voice data even after you delete it.) With the behavioral biometrics field growing at a 23.7% a year, your every move is valuable and can be sold to the highest bidder.

But just like your other personal data, do the companies who monitor you own it, or do you? What if you don’t even know you’re being monitored? Here are a couple of the surprising ways your data is being collected.

• Modern connected cars have the power of 20 personal computers, according to a McKinsey survey. The data it gathers isn’t only about vehicle performance, either—it can monitor things like how fast you drive or how hard you hit the brakes. Some can even ID you via sensors in your seat (and yes, they’ll notice if you’ve gained weight).

Walmart has patented a shopping cart that can monitor your heart rate, grip force, palm temperature, and walking speed as you wheel it around the store. The sensors in the cart connect to a server which then notifies employees to check on customers that hit certain thresholds.

Why privacy should matter to SMBs

The GDPR has affected large US businesses with international reach, and state-level laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) exempts businesses under a $25 million threshold—which means small- and mid-sized businesses haven’t been hugely affected yet. But with the possible implementation of a federal privacy law in the near future, you should have a plan in place for the way you gather and safeguard your customers’ and employees’ information. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It’s important to your current customers. As the Pew Research survey showed, it’s a high priority for the majority of Americans. If you make it clear to your users that they own their own data, it can also serve as a good retention tool for your current userbase.
  • It separates you from the competition. If you are transparent about your data gathering, usage, and customer ownership—and your competitors are not—it can attract new customers and business partners.
  • It looks good for employee recruitment. In a competitive recruiting landscape for tech employees, demonstrating that you are an honest company that uses consumer data ethically makes you stand out.

Secure your data with the world’s most secure printers and PCs from HP.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Disclaimer

Prices, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Price protection, price matching or price guarantees do not apply to Intra-day, Daily Deals or limited-time promotions. Quantity limits may apply to orders, including orders for discounted and promotional items. Despite our best efforts, a small number of items may contain pricing, typography, or photography errors. Correct prices and promotions are validated at the time your order is placed. These terms apply only to products sold by HP.com; reseller offers may vary. Items sold by HP.com are not for immediate resale. Orders that do not comply with HP.com terms, conditions, and limitations may be cancelled. Contract and volume customers not eligible.

HP’s MSRP is subject to discount. HP’s MSRP price is shown as either a stand-alone price or as a strike-through price with a discounted or promotional price also listed. Discounted or promotional pricing is indicated by the presence of an additional higher MSRP strike-through price

The following applies to HP systems with Intel 6th Gen and other future-generation processors on systems shipping with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro systems downgraded to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1: This version of Windows running with the processor or chipsets used in this system has limited support from Microsoft. For more information about Microsoft’s support, please see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle FAQ at https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle

Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, Xeon Inside, and Intel Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

In-home warranty is available only on select customizable HP desktop PCs. Need for in-home service is determined by HP support representative. Customer may be required to run system self-test programs or correct reported faults by following advice given over phone. On-site services provided only if issue can't be corrected remotely. Service not available holidays and weekends.

HP will transfer your name and address information, IP address, products ordered and associated costs and other personal information related to processing your application to Bill Me Later®. Bill Me Later will use that data under its privacy policy.

Microsoft Windows 10: Not all features are available in all editions or versions of Windows 10. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers, software or BIOS update to take full advantage of Windows 10 functionality. Windows 10 is automatically updated, which is always enabled. ISP fees may apply and additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See http://www.microsoft.com.

HP Rewards qualifying and eligible products/purchases are defined as those from the following categories: Printers, Business PCs (Elite, Pro and Workstation brands), select Business Accessories and select Ink, Toner & Paper.