Technology

Data is the new oil and it is far more valuable than oil

Data localization is the key

There was a time in this world when oil was the world beater. It was the thing for which every country was fighting for and the money it generated for the countries that had oil was just beyond a common man’s imagination. The people who had oil were among the richest people in the world. There was no substitute for oil and now there is. However, we have something that is far more personal and far costlier than oil; data.

Data is something the world is craving for right now. Companies are behind the data and almost everyone in this world wants only one thing and that is data. The thing is, you don’t see it. That is the thing with data, you don’t see your data going away from you into the hands of the company. Everything is digital and because you don’t see it, you don’t, either believe it or are not aware of it. Everything for us feels normal at this moment but as you are reading this article, your digital footprints are being stored by someone, somewhere.

If you look closely, there is nothing more frightening than data being colonized by a company. Now, this data has many routes and roots. If you are on any kind of social media then that social media company knows more about you and your choices than you and this is not exaggerating it.

Google knows where you are because you share your location with it and if you love Google Maps, then here is an example of how it works. Imagine you are traveling from one place to another and the route you are taking is heavily crowded and there is a lot of traffic. This means that you are moving slower, with you a bunch of other vehicles are also moving slower and even they are connected Google. This means Google has information of about 100 people moving slower in that area, so now if someone else wants to go to the same place Google will suggest a different route which is faster as people on that route are moving faster.

This is all about data sharing if you remember Google Maps was not as accurate as it is right now. It is becoming better day by day because more and more people are sharing data with Google every single day. That said, this is just one example, everything you do on the internet is recorded, the products you search for, the places you look at and the people you stalk, each and every movement of yours is recorded. This helps the companies personalize applications and your accounts for you.

The simplest example of this is Netflix. If you watch a particular series, you love it and rate it accordingly, Netflix will suggest a series of that genre to you. There is also a match meter on Netflix which tells you how much it matches your preferences. This is the same thing with Facebook or any other advertisements. Once you search a particular item for long enough, it will show you similar items all the time. You must have noticed that your searches on Amazon.com are popping up on Instagram in the advertisement section and this is because the companies share the data.

Now that I have blabbered about how important data is, let me just tell you that it does not come for free. Every personal data a company shares with another company comes for a cost and that is how these companies make money. If you think that Facebook makes money out of advertisements then you are fooled by it. Also, you don’t use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter or any other social media applications for free, you share your data and you are their product after all.

There is nothing more important in this world that data right now and to stop sharing your data completely all you have to do is erase your digital footprint, which by the way is close to impossible. And that is the reason why big companies are behind the internet and data.

-Unmesh Phule

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