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Your Data or Your Life

Today's amalgamation and synthesis of digital services and hardware is designed to make our lives easier, and there is no doubt that it has. But have we stopped asking fundamental questions, both of ourselves and of the companies we entrust to do all of these things?

LONDON – Apple’s new watch keeps track of your health. Google Now gathers the information needed to compute the ideal time for you to leave for the airport. Amazon tells you the books you want, the groceries you need, the films you will like – and sells you the tablet that enables you to order them and more. Your lights turn on when you get close to home, and your house adjusts to your choice of ambient temperature.

This amalgamation and synthesis of digital services and hardware is designed to make our lives easier, and there is no doubt that it has. But have we stopped asking fundamental questions, both of ourselves and of the companies we entrust to do all of these things? Have we given sufficient consideration to the potential cost of all of this comfort and ease, and asked ourselves if the price is worth it?

Every time we add a new device, we give away a little piece of ourselves. We often do this with very little knowledge about who is getting it, much less whether we share their ethics and values. We may have a superficial check-box understanding of what the companies behind this convenience do with our data; but, beyond the marketing, the actual people running these organizations are faceless and nameless. We know little about them, but they sure know a lot about us.

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