Overwhelmed with Consent

by | Oct 31, 2019 | ICT4D |

Sometimes the more we know, the more overwhelmed and fearful we become. We want to retreat to a cave and shut off the world. We want to hide away. We ask the world to stop so we can get off for a moment.

As the world we live in becomes more digital and begin to realise how it is being used through scandals and the like, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. When we work in unfunded civil society organisations, local governments, or NGOs, it’s difficult to keep on top of the new developments and the latest risks.

So imagine how it might feel if you have just survived a disaster or crisis of some sort. And your experience with a phone was that it was for calling people or receiving money. And then people arrive talking to you about gadgets, identity, your data, something called digital, your rights, and so on. My guess is you’d be overwhelmed too.

When consent is focused on the legalities, it tends to be quite meaningless in these situations. Perhaps there the other end of the spectrum is ‘care’. Perhaps the spectrum has three prongs – care, control (surveillance), and legal.

And perhaps just like there used to talk of ‘appropriate technology’, maybe there should be ‘appropriate information’. The challenge is ‘who decides what is appropriate?’

Overwhelming people does not lead to more informed people. So while we want people to understand how to live wisely in a digital world, we need to figure out how to talk about this better.

How do you do this? I’d love to learn from you so please drop a line.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin


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