Technology. First of all, using the word ‘technology’ as an umbrella term to describe our future is hardly accurate. We aren’t going to be living in a world dominated by ‘technology’ — a terrifying beast that we can’t control. Instead, we are going to be living in a world where humans will hopefully be using technology for the greater good, automating outdated, agonisingly slow systems, revolutionising healthcare, and even colonising Mars (though the jury’s still out on that one).
Technology is often used as a buzzword in the media, usually to underpin how the fault of the latest data scandal is largely due to how immune we are to technology. And I would agree with this — to a degree. But are we holding the right people to blame?
With Friday 25 May being GDPR day, people all over the world (with an internet connection, of course) were reminded, through a flood in their inboxes, of the General Data Protection Regulations that have now come into effect — and of how much control they actually have over their personal data. Without opting back into mailing lists, providers will be unable to send them any more content or advertising. This was explained very well in this article:
Consent is not the only condition for data processing under GDPR but it is one of the pillars upon which justification is built. GDPR requires that unless there is another justification (there are 5 other justification scenarios i.e. legal obligation, public interest, vital interest, contractual, legitimate use), data processing can only be done with the consent of the data subject. As well as being a fundamental of permission-based marketing, this is actually not dissimilar to the current UK Data Protection legislation. In this respect the principle of consent has not radically changed.
However GDPR does newly extend and clarify the conditions under which consent is given. GDPR now requires that consent must be a clear and affirmative opt-in action, freely given with full knowledge of owner and intended purpose of processing. It can’t be implied, assumed, bundled or otherwise connected and only applies for a specifically identified purpose.
We’re all had the experience of opening up a new webpage and having a pop-up flash up: ‘You need to allow cookies to allow this service’ or ‘In order for this service to work correctly, you must consent to the use of your data…’ If you never bothered to read these closely, I’m afraid you only have yourself to blame. Luckily for the more indifferent individuals among us, GDPR has now come into effect.
A future dominated by tech, to me, symbolises freedom of a different sort. Not just a utopian future of a 30 hour work week, a technology equipped health service that is capable of looking after everyone adequately and terminate the existence of certain diseases, and where self driving cars make it possible for the elderly and those with disabilities to get around. A future where self-expression, creativity and collaborative working are valued above traditional skills. Where everyone utilises their own platform to bring communities together and get their thoughts out into the world. A world where poverty is almost non-existent.
However, in order to get to this future, we will no doubt face setbacks. As I will explore in a later article, I see the recent data scandals merely as a system of our current evolution as a species — into a technology based society. The digital age does not reward passive consumers — and this can only be to the good of humanity.