The internet has become an integral part of our lives, and with the rise of big data, we are constantly generating and collecting digital information. However, alongside the collection of data comes the necessity of storage. Whether it be personal information collected by social media platforms or medical records stored on cloud servers, the ethical concerns surrounding data collection and storage online are significant.
Data protection and privacy have been recurring issues for individuals and organizations alike. The manner by which personal data is collected and stored online has the potential to infringe on an individual’s privacy rights. Furthermore, the storing of personal data can lead to the manipulation of user behaviour, invasion of privacy, and misuse of data by companies. Data breaches and potential hacking of organization’s servers, therefore, present severe risks to the security of personal information.
While online platforms collect user data for a variety of purposes, users need to understand the kind of data collected before granting permission to such data to be stored. Data that is often collected includes demographics, communication records, medical records, financial data, and location data, among others.
The concern, however, is that this data is often stored in centralized systems that are vulnerable to attacks from outside forces such as hackers or even cybercriminals. There is also the possibility of inadequate technological controls, leading to unintended exposure of personal data online, which, in turn, raises ethical concerns around the safeguarding of personal information.
Furthermore, many companies have taken advantage of personal data for financial gain, leading to issues of consumer trust. Online platforms have often been found guilty of promising data privacy, and yet, on the backend, the data has been shared with third parties without the users’ knowledge or consent. Such actions not only breach trust but also fuel conversations around the ethicality of data collection and storage.
A particular ethical concern relates to the fast-growing market of data brokers. Brokers collect vast amounts of data and then sell it to third-party corporations without asking for users’ consent or knowledge. This is particularly concerning as data can be used to target users, manipulate their behaviour, and affect their privacy.
The rise of data analytics also presents ethical dilemmas around data collection and storage. Such analytics businesses use data generated from users to forecast and make strategic decisions, leading to concerns around privacy and the safeguarding of personal data. Here, the analytical results are often used for political or corporate-related decisions that affect people’s lives, leading to debates around the possibility of technology’s ethical uses.
In conclusion, as data collection and storage become crucial aspects of modern-day living, ethical concerns need to be addressed. There is an urgent need for data collection to be transparent, with clear expectations for users about what data is being collected, why, and for what purposes. Companies must also be accountable for their actions, adequately securing personal data and ensuring that it’s not shared with others without user consent. A balance must be struck between data collection and storage and ethical safeguards that will safeguard users’ privacy rights and keep their personal information safe.