Soul theft

There are people (even among the so-called digital natives) who create their social accounts with pseudonyms, carefully avoiding to enter personal data of any kind (to the point to turn off the GPS, giving up using the navigator on the smartphone).
They say (very cautiously) they do not trust these big organizations that can spy on everything they do or say on the Internet. In short they radically exercise their right to privacy. For sure I am not like them. The big brother knows (almost) everything about me. And I live peacefully (or I believe to do so).
When I was a child there was a story about natives of some distant tribe who did not want to be photographed because they believed that photos stole their souls. Sometimes wary friends seem to me too cautious, sometimes even superstitious as those inhabitants of far spots of the planet, miles away from the noise of technology. They lived really peacefully (before we came).
But if you’re sure to be in a safe harbour you’re making a mistake. Perhaps my wary friends (and also the natives) had at least some reason? If you carefully read information now available on digital identity theft you suddenly realize that they were absolutely right.
“If the product is free, then you are the product.” With this words commercial television thrived for decades. What has changed with the internet? Nothing. Except that the product now is not the undifferentiated mass of TV viewers, now the product is you: with a name, a family name, a date of birth, spending habits and consumer preferences very well profiled.

 

So now the refrain would be this: “we do not know what the value of our digital soul”.

 

On April 12, 2014 Shawn Buckles has sold at auction for 350 Euro its digital soul. And I discovered with astonishment that curiously the University of Nottingham researcher has used precisely the expression “data soul” to indicate the following set of information: “his location records, medical records, His, His personal calendar, the content of His emails and all His information from the social media communications, His online conversations, His consumer preferences and his internet browsing history “(1).

 

Perhaps the lot was worth more: “That the European Commission estimates the value of personal data in the European Union will hit blackberries than $ 1 trillion by 2020” (2) (3) (4).

 

While waiting for the institutions to regulate the market for digital souls, we should at least protect them from identity theft from petty thieves. Turn on immediately strong authentication provided for free by many platforms. With Valid you can enable a cost-free strong authentication on the main providers such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox … (5)
Surely now I know that the natives had realized something that we still ignore.

 

(1) https://theconversation.com/dutch-student-sells-his-data-for-350-but-at-what-price-privacy-25736
(2) www.livescience.com/52315-your-online-identity-has-value-but-who-profits-from-it.html
(3) http://qz.com/460482/heres-what-your-stolen-identity-goes-for-on-the-internets-black-market/
(4) http://www.secureworks.com/assets/pdf-store/white-papers/wp-underground-hacking-report.pdf
(5) https://www.time4mind.com/public/valid.php

 

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