They know who you are, the friends you keep, where you shop, and what you browse. They know your unconscious desires. They're the corporations that pay top dollar for your data, a treasure trove of personal insights that they analyze to target and manipulate you. Produced by the acclaimed VPRO documentary series, The Value of Your Personal Data exposes their secretive practices and offers tips on how you can gain the upper hand.
Billions of people around the world have access to cell phones, computers and other electronic communication devices. Many may assume a level of privacy when they send an email, exchange text messages, snap a photo or share a post with close friends on social media. But corporate voyeurs lie in waiting behind endless streams of your digital data. Empowered by the insights you continuously feed them, they can point you in the direction of that dress you want to buy, determine the details of your personal profile including marital status and sexual orientation, and predict your next move before it even occurs to you.
Who's getting rich off your information, and why aren't you getting your cut? After all, your habits, behaviours and characteristics belong to you, so fairness dictates that you should have a stake in their value. If privacy is indeed a thing of the past, then how much should you profit from relinquishing yours? An expert panel discusses this fascinating concept throughout the course of the film, and their conclusions are eye-opening and informative.
The Value of Your Personal Data doesn't paint an entirely distressing portrait of Big Data. After all, the sharing of information in the digital age can be used to advance much more than nefarious motives and capitalistic greed. In many cases, this data can be employed to promote the greater good. Social causes can find a farther-reaching audience, populations can be driven to action, and medical researchers can take major steps forward in curing chronic diseases. But like many aspects of life, the sharing of personal data is a double-edged sword and must be monitored and regulated with careful consideration and caution.