There is no place to HIDE in the century of Big Data

Where does “personal privacy” go in the era of big data?

With the advent of the information age, the popularization of data informatization has become a “double-edged sword” with both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, big data use computer intelligence to process and analyze data, quickly disseminate and exchange information, and use its advantages such as wide coverage, rapid processing, convenient use, and time-space compression to affect the economy, politics, and culture.

The development of education, science, and technology has played a positive role in promoting. On the other hand, it brings the masses of society into a brand-new Internet environment and makes people face the divergence and contradiction between the technical “possibility” and brings many political, legal, and Ethical issues. Among them, the most prominent issue is the personal privacy issue which has become more and more popular among the public.

Status of personal privacy protection abroad:

Internationally, many countries attach great importance to the protection of personal privacy and their bills are relatively complete. Typical countries are led by the European Union, the United States, and Japan. The European Union adopts a unified legislative model, regulates the collection, processing, and utilization of personal information by formulating a comprehensive personal information protection law, and conducts full life cycle management of personal information

The United States adopts a model that combines decentralized legislation and industry self-discipline, which is used in public, and Legislation is carried out one by one in the private sector; Japan takes special protection laws as the core and integrates other laws to form a personal information protection system. At the same time, there are corresponding disciplinary measures for companies, groups, and even individuals that infringe or leak personal privacy.

Take Google’s leaks as an example. In 2018, Google was reported to have leaked 500,000 Google+ account data. This incident directly led to the shutdown of its Google+ business and a settlement of USD 13 million. Google has paid a total of up to 9 billion U.S. dollars in fines for issues involving the opacity of data collection information, users’ ignorance of data collection, and users’ consent to collect targeted data.

Coincidentally, Facebook faced a US$664,000 fine from the United Kingdom for the use of improper data by Cambridge Analytica without the user’s permission, and this was not the only penalty Facebook received for “privacy leakage”. EU antitrust regulators fined US$122 million for misleading information on Facebook’s privacy promises when it acquired the chat application WhatsApp. Facebook also suffered a $164,000 fine for failing to comply with French data protection regulations. The complete protection system for personal privacy and strict penalties have made many foreign companies afraid to take the risk of huge fines or even the company’s business shutdown to illegally use users’ personal information. On this basis, a good information protection environment has been formed.

Personal privacy protection status:

On the other hand, in China, most people are relatively open to privacy issues, or relatively lack the awareness of personal privacy protection, and in a certain sense, they are willing to trade privacy for convenience, safety, or efficiency. Moreover, a special “Personal Information Protection Law” has not yet been formulated in China. The law for the protection of personal information currently consists of specific laws, administrative regulations, local regulations and rules, various regulatory documents, and departmental rules. Although the coverage is wide, it is relatively scattered and not very punitive.

For example, the large-scale leak of Weibo data; the leak of nearly 2.5 million people’s face recognition data in Deep Web Vision; the leak of the back-end source code of Bilibili Company (Station B) involved the password security of many users; the 315 parties revealed that more than 50 mobile apps passed the plant the plug-in illegally steals and resells the user’s personal information. Although these incidents have caused ordinary users to understand, pay attention to, and value the protection of personal information, most of the processing methods for “privacy leakage” are based on interviews, rectifications, and exposure. It is difficult to deal with other companies involved in the leakage of personal information.

Two privacy attitudes, two results:

However, it is rather absurd that it is precisely because of the lack of awareness of personal privacy protection in China that the rapid development of Internet companies has been achieved. Chinese Internet companies represented by Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have not only formed an Internet industry chain covering search engines, e-commerce, social networking, and daily life based on big data but also entered the international market as a global company, becoming the world’s mainstream economy.

In sharp contrast, the excessive protection of personal information in foreign countries has inhibited the development of Internet giants, and they have gradually been overtaken in terms of scale and influence. Google’s Internet business sector has developed slowly and has successively shut down its Internet businesses such as Google Buzz, Jaiku, iGoogle, and Google+. Facebook is also facing the problem of user churn caused by slow product update iterations and the surpassing of domestic rival TikTok.

Privacy protection interface:

In the future, how will countries deal with the interface of data sharing and privacy leakage, so that they can not only enjoy the dividends brought by the information age but also retain the right of personal privacy for the masses?

Among them, the most important thing is to control the intensity of supervision. It is necessary to supervise the collection and use of data, but it cannot be used in a general manner, restricting the effective use of data and becoming a shackle for Internet companies. Based on this principle, the government may start from two aspects of information supervision in the future:

The first is to conduct unified supervision on the acquisition and use of information and data, to check the ports that can be used to steal information through the Internet, such as mobile phones and computers, and to review the necessity and use of application software to obtain user information, to avoid unnecessary information outflow and Theft of critical information.

The second is to endorse relevant institutions, enterprises, and companies that have passed the audit and verification, and provide a blacklist at the same time to optimize the informatization credit system. This allows users to have a more three-dimensional and clear perception, which makes it convenient for users to choose trusted software and platforms for authorization of information use. In this way, the formation of a digital information security system may be an effective way forward.

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