Hello and thanks for reading.
As the world that we live in continues to grow, it raises some interesting questions. One of them that I like is, “is there anything that is a secret anymore?” I mean, most of us will keep certain pieces of key information to ourselves. I don’t know any of my friend’s PIN numbers, I don’t really know exactly how much they weigh and I don’t know how much money any of them has at any given time. The reason is that they have likely consciously protected those pieces of information for a variety of reasons.
However, most people seem to not care about many other pieces of information. I use Garmin’s Connect service to keep track of my fitness (such as how much mileage I run, how many calories I may burn and even how worn out a pair of shoes may be). It is a great service, but only the naive would believe that Garmin is not selling this information to parties that may use it. This may range from the municipality where I live (as they may want to know where to focus their recreational budget) to food companies (to target me for certain health products, since they know my age and how much I eat) and to the shoe companies (who can now target me for new upcoming products).
I think most of us believe that this is a good trade-off, since I am getting a free service from Garmin after all. However, what about when you are not compensated? If Nest decides to tell your local utility that you run your air conditioner just a bit too long, how are YOU benefiting from that? I can see how Nest would (they may get paid, or at the least, pushed more heavily by the utility) and I can see how the Utility company would (better control over demand response activities or the ability to bill you more).
How about all of the information that Uber knows about you? They know your patterns of travel (are you an early bird or a night owl?), they know how long you spend in traffic and they know the most likely place where people go at any given time. You are part of their data, yet you did not even know about it. Sure, it doesn’t actually identify YOU, but rather a group of pooled users, but the idea of keeping things private sure is a thing of the past.
Maybe not, actually. I mean, I have learned way too much about my friends and family based on what they post on Social Media, so why would they really care how much Uber or any other tech giant knows about them anyways. As well, in some cases, companies have used this information to truly target us with services that we want to use, so some people actually like the personalized service.
The Bottom Line
At some point, every company will cross over the line when it comes to our personal information and will then to a “My bad” press release. It seems that the Millennials care less than the older generation, so perhaps this is just a spin-off of everyday life. It may be one day that your PIN really is the only thing that you keep personal, since everything else we do seems to be online anyways…..unless of course you need to share your PIN in the event of a fire in an ATM (let’s see how many of you get that 90’s TV show reference).