251. The privacy debate

A debate is raging about personal data, their value and their protection. Businesses earn staggering profits by selling or exploiting personal data which does not belong to them and which they have not been given explicit informed consent by the rightful owners to use in such way. The result is often exploitative marketing and political misdirection. This is a serious issue most citizens do not take seriously. The right use of data can have huge social value. For example, in the understanding of disease and the development of treatments or diagnostics which fundamentally change the outcomes for patients. But consent must be considered, reflective and explicit, given carefully and taken solemnly. This is one of the great modern challenges. If we can solve it successfully, if we can educate citizens to grant and withhold this consent on the basis of the real value they and society will derive from their data, we will build a better society. If we don’t, our dystopic journey will continue

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