The use of data or information in a way it wasn’t meant for is known as data misuse. Data privacy laws, user agreements, and corporate policies all set the context about how the data will be collected and used. Different from data theft, data misuse isn’t dependent on any cyberattack or owner’s consent. A user might provide the company with personal data willingly, but that doesn’t give them any right to use or share it for purposes the user didn’t agree upon.
Not always user consent is involved in data misuse. Data leakages are also responsible for a high percentage of data misuse. One of the most popular ways to prevent unintentional data leakages is by using a VPN. You will need a high-end VPN like NordVPN to avoid personal data leakages. Check out NordVPN’s review before you get it to protect your data from being misused.
Data Misuse Causes
Below are the causes of Data misuse.
- Lack of good data handling practices. For example, An employee making a copy of work files or data on his/her device. Without proper security, this data can be easily jeopardized.
- The incorrect algorithms can result in the company bringing in redundant data.
- Incorrect filing can also be a cause of misuse of data. Some data can be stored in locations where they are accessible to teams they weren’t intended for. Even a minor mishandling of data can open the doors for Data Breach Compensation.
Laws Regarding Data Misuse
Different laws to protect people from data misuses are being adopted worldwide. It is the responsibility of businesses to acknowledge the compliance frameworks in the territory they are operating in.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a prominent part of the law regarding protecting personal data. The GDPR mandates that companies should:
- Plainly state what their goals are for processing data.
- A report that plans and describes it in privacy information resources.
- Periodically evaluate and, when necessary, modernize processing and documentation.
- Obtain personal consent or judicial grounding before processing data for different outcomes.
Examples of Data Misuse
We can see different examples of companies using personal data for multiple alternate unauthorized purposes. A few of these instances are listed below:
- Google has been popular for not complying with different European data regulations. Recently it was fined €50m by France for vague data policies. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is also investigating Google for sharing personal data with advertisers.
- Uber staff viewed customer rides using a tool called “God View.” Many journalists, politicians, and celebrities were tracked using this tool. The company will continue to go through third-party audits for the next twenty years.
- Two companies were fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office in the U.K due to reason that they used personal data in marketing campaigns without user consent.
- Data misuse brings rigorous consequences to businesses that practice it, from legal action and financial penalties to reputational damage and harm to customer well-being.
Tech Companies And Data Misuse
Almost all of the companies collecting any form of data will provide an “opt-out” feature. Unfortunately, we don’t know if they will stop collecting our data even if we continue with this “opt-out” feature. As an end-user, there isn’t much that we can do about it anyway.
It is nearly impossible to differentiate between unlawful collections and lawful collections. Also, it is impossible to know if the data collected is being misused within the company or between multiple companies.
Last year we witnessed a data misuse scandal in the form of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A third-party company collected millions of Facebook users’ data and used it in campaigns derived by politics.
At the start of this year, Amazon and Apple were criticized for using human annotators to listen to personal conversations recorded via Alexa and Siri.
According to a New York Times article, multiple scoring companies are gathering granular data. A third-party company even knows what a writer named “Kashmir Hill” ordered on Saturday night in April using her phone. Uncertainty towards online privacy will only increase without any action.
All hope is not lost. Many tech companies are now being careful about the undeclared collection of data. Recently, Facebook was fined US$5 billion due to its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. After this scandal, they have started to improve their privacy controls and think about becoming more straightforward with users.
Google also received a fine of EU$50 million by French data regulator CNIL for the shortage of clarity and approval in user-targeted ads.
Current regulative safe-conducts are having a substantial impact on online privacy, but one can wonder, are they sufficient? There is no denying that currently, there are loopholes in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, and depending on the interpretation, the definition of personal data varies.
Tech giants are way ahead of regulators and can easily exploit any gray area they can find. We simply cannot afford any leaks or whistleblowers to hold them answerable. Regarding user privacy, humane usage of personal data must come from within these organizations themselves.
Data Misuse Future
Lawmakers around the world are trying to determine and fight against data misuse. Right now, it’s a trial to pick what rights individuals have over how companies and governments use their data.
A global agreement is difficult to reach as countries adopt different data privacy approaches. As our constitutional obligations continue to evolve, we can all do our best to prevent data misuse by following the best methods regarding data security and compliance.
It won’t be right to leave everything on the business and disregard our responsibilities towards online privacy and data protection. You can try to ensure digital and data security if you just follow these essential tips for online privacy.
Another way to achieve complete data privacy is by making sure that your digital footprints are not left behind while you roam around the internet world. To help you accomplish that, we have just the right tips to wipe your digital print from the internet.
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