Once, not long ago, data was nestled in paper files or stored on isolated computer networks, housed in glassed-off, air-conditioned rooms. Now, data is digital, moves effortlessly, and gets accessed from devices and places around the world at breakneck speeds. This makes it possible for businesses, organizations, and even individuals to collect and analyze this data for a whole host of purposes, such as advertising, insurance proposals, and scientific research, to name but a few. The data they are collecting and accessing about you is part of your personal data lake.
Data lake is a term that technologists typically use, but for us, using the term paints a strong visual for an important concept—how we create an extraordinary amount of data simply by going online and using connected devices. Your online interactions create drops of data that collect into streams, and pool together to form an ever-deepening lake of data over time. It stands to reason that the more time you spend online, connecting devices in your home and accessing a growing number of applications on your smartphone, the more quickly your personal data lake grows.
As you can imagine, your privacy and security are what’s at stake as you go about your digital life. Ultimately, the more data you share, either knowingly or unknowingly, the more that data potentially puts you at risk. This is true for you and your family members. The stakes get even higher because some of our own behavior can put us at risk. The internet is a platform with a global reach and a forever memory. What you say, do, and post can have a lifetime of implications. As a family, each member has a personal responsibility to look after themselves and each other. This unwritten contract extends to the internet because our actions there can impact our personal and professional lives, not to mention the lives of others. This book is laden with examples of how people get passed over for jobs, ruin romantic relationships, and end up doing actual physical harm to others because of what they say, do, or post online, ranging from sharing a picture of someone passed out at a party because it seemed funny at the time, to something calculated and intentionally injurious, like cyberbullying.
Gary Davis’ book, Is Your Digital Front Door Unlocked?, is available September 5, 2019 and can be ordered at amazon.com.