In the Information age, data is power, and it should be no surprise that governments and companies want as much access to your personal information as possible. Because once you understand and can track someone’s behavior, you can keep tabs on them and/or sell directly to them. (I’m not sure which I fear more.)
Companies work hard to get a hold of your information. And while you may be willing to share some secrets in exchange for a product or service, you have no control over what is ultimately done with that information or who gets it.
It’s true that organizations are now required to disclose their privacy policies. But that doesn’t mean much, because if you actually read those policies, you’ll see that your rights are pretty limited. “Opting out” is always tricky or cumbersome. And even the most ethical company can change owners (and policies) at the drop of a hat.
But why should they have all the power? We’ve seen how far companies will go to protect their intellectual property. People need to start protecting their own intellectual property. In a world where data equals dollars, shouldn’t you be the one who decides how to buy and sell your info? I’m quite serious: I want a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to privacy. But barring that, I want to require companies to get my express written permission to use my information—every time they want to use it. More than that, I want a dollar every time someone downloads my data. If iTunes can do it, I should be able to as well.