So, like every other one of the world's 1.28 billion monthly Facebook users, you blindly agreed to Facebook's Terms and Conditions without reading the fine print.
Big Data could lead to the greatest advances society has seen in generations. Or, it could take us down a path of poor decisions and increased discrimination. Eating curly fries (unfortunately!) wont make us smart enough to guide the right decisions, but collaboration between technologists, policymakers, and businesses could.
Effective transparency is not a one-way mirror that reduces individuals to being spectators on how their data is used. Instead, meaningful transparency requires both inbound and outbound information flows. It requires institutions (commercial and governmental) to listen and act upon the wants and needs of individuals.
Most of us simply find it too tiring, too complex, to pay much attention to all the privacy settings out there. How many of us, for example, actually change the password settings when we are supposed to? We assume, naively, that there must be some kind of law out there that keeps corporations from going too far with all that data they are collecting on us.
While European companies have to comply with comparatively strict data privacy protection laws, Google's hunger for information seems to know no bounds. That has led to demands for uniform data privacy protection standards for all participants in the market. Otherwise, the European companies reason, Europe will be dependent on the Americans in the digital age.
Thanks to Snowden, we now know the Internet has become a giant government spying apparatus dependent on the complicity of companies we use everyday. A Reuters poll from April showed that a majority of Americans believe that technology companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are "encroaching too much upon their lives." It's a rather remarkable statistic given these companies were universally loved not that long ago, widely imagined to be allies of the people against the old oligarchs.
If you want a world in which you can't be taken possession of via your screen, in which you don't more or less automatically come with a dossier and a profile, I think you're going to have to slip those screens back into your pockets or, given that you can be tracked via your smartphones wherever you go (even if they're turned off), maybe into a desk drawer somewhere.
The European Union Court of Justice's recent ruling in favor of a "right to be forgotten" has roiled the Internet industry and observers alike. While on the face of it, the court's decision would appear to be a victory for individuals, it brings a host of other unintended consequences and considerable uncertainty.