If you google the data lifecycle, you’ll find hundreds of variations of ‘plan – collect – use – dispose’. The counter cultural act is to actually do the last stage – ‘dispose’. Few do this, making it a counter cultural act. There always imagined potential use cases where we might use the data, so we hold on to it ‘just in case’. Just in case situations are like tomorrow – it never comes.
Intentionally disposing of the personal data we collect is a small act. A simple act. And still a powerful one. The longer data stays around, the greater chance it has of causing harm to the person about whom it is.
If you can’t delete it for their sake, delete for your own or your organisation’s. Deletion is an act of security. Deleted cannot cause harm, cannot be part of a data breach, cannot be misused.
Like all acts of counter culturalism, the system and culture around us give hundreds of excuses not to do it. Counter cultural acts can be simple and powerful. And change is often a combination of small acts.
What data can you delete today?
Photo by Devin Avery