Often we do not give our data security a second thought. Data sharing in apps can be enabled by default to add to big data sources, these can be incredibly helpful in applications such as satnavs. However, there is often an overlooked side to this.
The type of data and it’s end use can be critical and must be considered both by the company in terms of ethics and by the user in terms of their personal security. A casing point is Strava, a fitness tracker designed for sharing routes and times. For the general public having this app on your phone with data sharing enabled is not a problem, it can even be interesting when Strava releases a heatmap so you can see the other uses and the most popular areas.
A first look at the data is an interesting experience, it does look quite pretty, an interesting way to look at population densities and internet connected devices. If you start to look closer, maybe at Afghanistan, little hotspots stand out, zooming in the layout and location of multiple military bases can be identified.
This is a casing point for understanding how data is to be used, yes it is anonymous but is it something that should be shared. I love Google Maps and the traffic updates – it’s second to none – and I understand what data I am sharing to be able to use this service. It is important that we all start to understand how our personal data is used in the big data environment.