Taking Back Control of Your Data
Since my last post, we’ve seen more and more incidents of continued data leaks by the usual suspects, Facebook and Google. This month alone, Google announced they will be shutting down Google+ 4 months ahead of schedule. Meanwhile Facebook “accidentally” exposed users’ photos that were never intended to be shared. Pretty frustrating, right? As a Tech Entrepreneur, I know first-hand that there are growing pains at each stage of growth when building a multi-billion-dollar company. For companies like Google and Facebook who have seen exponential growth and enjoy sky-high market caps, they face mounting pressure from Wall Street to put up increased profits quarter over quarter – which is difficult for them and challenging for consumers when a majority of the assets they own is your data.
Are Consumers Being Robbed?
I was recently featured in an article by Voice of America, discussing the scrutiny and negative press that firms like Facebook and Google are facing over how they handle data breaches. What I found most interesting was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s quote that reads, “Or are they (Tech Companies like Google) serving as instruments of manipulation . . .to rob the people of their power, agency and dignity?” While I don’t believe in nefarious intents by companies, like Google, that stark comment made me ponder: In this race to appease Wall Street and fend off fierce competition from other cloud service providers for advertisers’ dollars, “giant” cloud companies are putting undue pressure on their developers to provide customized data services to advertisers (or anyone else willing to pay). As such, many of the API’s they develop and provide are at risk of not being fully vetted in the process. Or the developers simply cave in to advertisers’ growing demands for access to consumers’ data. The net result is a valid concern by McCarthy that consumers are being robbed of their power, which, in essence, their data.
Take Back Control
The ultimate lesson here is that, as a consumer, it is important to know what your data is worth and find a platform that protects your privacy yet gives you the convenience to access your data when you need it. The time has come to be more vigilant against blind trust with large cloud companies who hold sensitive data – especially when they offer it to you for free. As I shared with CNBC, there is “no free lunch in this world”. These “cloud” companies’ business model is to learn as much about you and sell your data. In that process they even make data they didn’t intend to share with advertisers vulnerable to security breaches or misuse.
It is time to rethink where you upload and who you store your treasured data and files with. This includes everything from personal photos, videos, documents and unique personal identifiable information (such as your date of birth, address, telephone numbers, Social Security number and more). What about your photo collection? While you may think that 99% of your photos are not super sensitive, what about that 1% that you forgot was there? Remember a few instances where you took a screenshot of a newly created password on a website? Chances are that same (or similar) password could be used across all your accounts. Are you trusting that these sensitive pieces of data will never leak from the cloud? Do you have time to comb through your massive collection of photos and videos to know which files contain sensitive data? If you are like most people, the answer is NO. Now, more than ever, we must be careful about blindly sending “everything” up to the cloud. We know what we are worth and no longer need to let companies profit from exposing our data. It’s time to take back control of our Digital Life.
I founded LatticeWork, on the belief that we can empower consumers to protect their data privacy. As the Co-Founder and former CTO of Marvell Technology Group, I spent nearly two-decades developing secure, enterprise storage technology solutions. At LatticeWork, we are now bringing that expertise and knowledge to the everyday consumer, with Amber, the world’s first AI-Powered Smart Storage Platform, to address consumers’ personal data storage needs. Amber organizes your data locally and allows you to access and share remotely. Giving you the convenience of the cloud in the privacy or your home, or office. Consumers retain full control and ownership of their data while keeping the autonomy in deciding what is being shared and with whom. We all want the freedom of privacy and the power of being connected. Now, you can have both.
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