How you can collect, use, and control your own data.
Technology expert Weigend (co-editor: Time Series Prediction: Forecasting the Future and Understanding the Past, 1993) believes we are all immersed in a “social data revolution” that will benefit everyone better if it is monitored and managed by each of us. As social data is disseminated and gathered at increasingly exponential rates, having control over all aspects of that data sharing is key to a fair exchange. The author’s research encompasses the risks and dangers of sharing personal information “because data can be used against us,” as he personally attests to in an anecdote about his father, who was arrested and jailed for six years in 1949 based on accumulated data that led Soviet intelligence to assume he was an American spy. That ordeal forms the foundation for a fascinating discussion on the nature of data mining and how individual privacy is routinely and often unknowingly compromised. Weigend examines the innovative collection methods of corporations, the predictability of algorithms, and the “signals of interest” that consumers dispatch with each click. From facial recognition software to targeted advertising to legions of networked cameras monitoring our every move as a “default condition of life,” these modern advances should spur individuals to re-evaluate their concepts and expectations of privacy. The legwork is up to us, writes the author—to first realize our inherent fears and reservations about data gathering and then investigate ways to stem the tide of personal information flowing in and out of the technological grid. Weigend offers a four-pronged strategy aimed at those who choose to limit their data sharing and achieve true transparency. The author maintains the intellectual complexity of his subject while remaining accessible to readers searching for the truth about the salability of their privacy, the nuances of data sharing, and the ways to cloak their digital footprints.
A cautionary, cohesively delivered update on the scope and science of human quantification.