Professor David Carroll’s story began a year ago when he sued the polemic Cambridge Analytica to reclaim his own information from them, and it also opens the documentary titled The Great Hack. In an easy to digest manner, this work presents the way our data is used to manipulate society and discusses the fact that the vast majority of contemporary electoral results, from the United States to Trinidad and Tobago, are the outcome of that compilation of data through social media and their subsequent use to polarize us.
After watching it, I continued reflecting on the idea that we do not own our information and, as Carroll said, on the fact that the right to protect our data is a component of human rights.
And then I remembered the European legislation’s “right to be forgotten” measure regarding data protection. It was the Spaniard Mario Costeja González who a few years ago began a legal battle against Google, claiming his right to be forgotten. His case opened an international conversation about the consequences of the unfettered circulation of personal data in the digital era and marked a before and after in its legislation.
And I learned that we all have personal information that we cannot delete from the internet, unless we sue Google. I also learned that we don’t know the kind of personal information that is out there, “stolen” in our strolls through social media, and that we have no access to it even if we sued giants such as Cambridge Analytica.
Perhaps we have a long way to go before recuperating the data (and the rights) that we so afably turn over on a daily basis and that will be used against us in some moment in our lives…