Data ownership as a human right

Today phrase data privacy is commonly used in our daily life. At the World Economic Forum 7 years ago one of the speakers asked the audience what people would care about in 5 years. Now we simply understand that human health is the most valuable and important thing through the pandemic. But also a high level of technology development provides widespread interest in identity and data.


Each day we give our personal information to hundreds of people or platforms: social media, banks, restaurants, markets, and even our personal computers — get and save more information than ever.
Therefore this evokes the need for people to be more aware of how they safeguard and with whom or what their information.


Most of us have our personal pages on Facebook and activities like reading, reacting, or posting becomes part of our daily routine as tooth brushing and eating. Sometimes we don’t even notice it when we pick up our phones, or open up our laptops, and go straight to Facebook to see what’s going on. We easily can connect with our friends, share stories or important events or dates in our life.

Facebook has 2.80 billion monthly active users (Facebook, 2021). If that number doesn’t blow you away, it also has 1.84 billion users that are visiting the social networking site daily. This means that users were visiting at least one of Facebook’s core products — which includes Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.


Can you even imagine the amount of data that these people generate every day through this social media?

In 2018, the scandal unfolded around Facebook — it became known that the company Cambridge Analytica through its application on the social network collects user data. It is assumed that these data can be used during the US election campaign in 2016 and the referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from Europe. Cambridge Analytica received data from a total of 87 million users.


Facebook team all this time tries to save information of its users more carefully and safely. But even this year The hacker forum posted free phone numbers and other personal information of 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries. [1]

Data privacy is, in fact, a right guaranteed in the United Nations International Bill of Human Rights, as contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). A General comment adopted by the Human Rights Committee in 1988 added the following to Article 17 of the ICCPR, the Right to Privacy:

“The gathering and holding of personal information on computers, data banks, and other devices, whether by public authorities or private individuals or bodies, must be regulated by law.” [2]


This year in February Facebook start to strike back against Apple privacy change. Apple this year earlier released a software update — the iOS 14 which aims to bar Facebook from tracking user movements outside of Facebook-owned apps, i.e., Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp without their consent. [3]

Nevertheless, when Facebook had been worried about how this would impact its targeted ads segment, the social media giant is still pushing against Apple and collecting massive amounts of data. [4]

But as previous cases show even with law guarantees we can`t be fully confident that our data is safe. That's why should, first of all, think more than twice about leaving and guarding our personal information on a variety of platforms. We need to find ways to protect personal data and select what data can be accessed by different companies.

Data Science Consultant

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