In the wake of news that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, collected Facebook users' personal data in order to target political ads during the 2016 US election, many on Facebook – and beyond – have expressed their confusion, fear, and indignation about the collection and use of their personal data on the internet. The phrase "Big Data" refers to this collection of personal information, which companies, consulting firms, location services, and law enforcement – among many other entities – use, whether it be to sell a product or to issue an Amber Alert. Put simply: the range of things users' personal data is used for on the internet is wide.
All of this raises the questions: are some uses of user data okay? Are some not okay? What's the dividing line between the two?
If you use the internet in any capacity, then your data has been and is being collected all the time. That said, where do you draw your line in the sand? Which, if any, of the following uses of your personal data are you comfortable with?
Using my location to notify me about crimes, child abductions, natural disasters, and other dangers happening near me
Using my birth date to send me special discounts and coupons for my birthday
Using my listening history to make new music recommendations
Storing my personal information so autofill can complete forms
Using my purchasing history to suggest similar products while I am shopping
Using my location to suggest new transit routes to me