Most of us are not concerned that a company collects data about our car or household appliance. We appreciate the fact that the data about how we use the car or appliance can help the technician figure out what is going on when there is a problem. In fact, most of us want companies to use the datat they have about how we use a car or appliance to make the next model better. And the one after that.

Using data about our behaviours to improve the service or product is something we expect to happen. We want to happen. Especially if it does not ‘cost’ us time or money.

However, we get annoyed, quickly, when the same data is used to sell us things. When we become the product that is being sold to others. Without our knowledge or agreement. (And yes, I know that legally the companiies are covered and they ‘tell us’ in their T&Cs, but they also know that no one reads them).

It’s the surprises that we get angry about. The manipulation. The weaponisation of our data to be used against us. This. This is what we don’t want.

And what is true about companies is also true about aid agencies. People affected by a crisis generally don’t have a problem sharing data about themselve with us. They understand it helps us plan, allocate, and deliver. However, they have a huge problem with us sharing data with others when they are not aware of it. And especially when the sharing is done with folks they don’t want it to be or when their lives are put at risk.

It seems common sensicial. Unfortunately, it is not.

It’s time to change.

Photo by Xavi Cabrera


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