How do we protect our data in the machine-driven age?

Warum Datenschutz relevant ist

Shermin Voshmgir, Business Informatics, University of Heidelberg, 2018, underlines the necessity of the Data Protection Act in her presentation by casually drawing attention to one of the central requirements, namely „Privacy by Design“: devices, applications, information systems, etc., must be designed already during their technical development in such a way that they are as privacy-friendly as possible, so that they protect our privacy. You can read about the reasons in my free translation from English into German:

„…in the data- and machine-driven age, everyone can be constantly tracked by anyone, institutions, any device, cameras, or a machine on their heels through digitization and the IoT: mobile phones, fitness trackers, electronically controlled vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers communicating over the WLAN even kitchen appliances easily determine and control our consumption and eating habits.

Privacy is the state of being free from public attention, of not being observed or disturbed by anyone, not even by the police. The protection of privacy is a fundamental right and is documented, among other things, by the secrecy of correspondence.

The Internet has been around since 1989. It connects all computers together, because it should be a democratic source for all people of freely available information and services. The Internet facilitates our lives through many services, Wikipedia, social media, the sale and trade of products, online banking, many good aspects. Only we do not pay for it directly, but with our privacy, our data.

Data transmission in email traffic between computers is guaranteed and allowed by the communication protocol, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and the IP (Internet Protocol), but communication protocols are only formal descriptions of digital message formats and rules. Since the Internet was never set up with a built-in cryptography layer, when information is uploaded and published to Facebook or social media, data is always stored on the Internet. Data is controlled by companies and institutions in the process, and in those moments we lose control over them.Β 

Privacy should remain a personal right; the General Data Protection Regulation also emphasizes the „right to be forgotten and delete data“. To secure data, encryption is a technology that has been known for a long time, but we still use it much too little, if at all. Terrorist activities gave rise to the „Homeland Security Act“ in America in November 2002, which, among other things, established standards for maintaining information security and an annual independent assessment. Constitutional rights should not be relinquished. And yet, we must take note that not only the Brexit campaign and the elections were abused by steering data.

Blockchain technology could stabilize the Internet because no one can control the data. The financial structure is supported by encryption of the protocol layer. However, with the introduction of Bitcoin, only the data structure is changed from a centralized to a decentralized approach, but Bitcoin does not remain anonymous because of this! ……“. Privacy by design is essential. A technology is and remains only a tool! Privacy law dictates that it should be designed in such a way that it does not control people, but helps us to protect privacy. That is why data protection is so relevant!