It's not about information possession, it's about information management, says the EFF director


As technology advances, personal data is becoming an increasingly relevant topic. Many in the crypto industry value government funding and data protection very much. However, according to Cindy Cohn, participants' efforts can be undermined by centralized corporations and regulators. Cohn is an Executive Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a not-for-profit organization focused on digital rights.

Cohn attended a Web Summit panel on Thursday entitled "Internet: Who Owns Our Data?" Pointing to the title, she said, "I think that's the wrong question. I think the question is who is controlling your data."

She continued:

"You own your data most of the time, but often you don't control it because in that click-wrap moment you are clicking away for most of the services you use." So it doesn't matter that ownership makes no difference whether it's there or not if you can just click it away. "

Clickwrap refers to the terms and conditions that act as the gatekeeper for most modern websites and services. To sign up for a service like Facebook or PayPal, you need to consent to pages and text pages, which are often confusing legal jargon. If you do not agree to the stated terms, it generally means that you do not use the service or the website.

Finding data control as a better descriptor for the current situation, Cohn said:

“Taking control of your data means we can go beyond the scope of a simple clickwrap agreement, and we can say that there are some situations where your control just cannot be taken by you, but cannot be taken over by you can. " Sometimes maybe not at all, but certainly not with a clickwrap agreement. "

Cohn said improvements could be made by changing the current legal and technological environment, as well as different actions by large companies.

A law currently in force in the United States known as the Third Party Doctrine effectively loses a user's rights to data provided to services and websites. "With all non-substantive data that these companies have, you waived your protection of the constitution for them because you passed them on to third parties," noted Cohn.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service recently began cracking down on the technology behind the Monero (XMR) privacy coin. The government agency hired Chainalysis and Integra FEC, two Crypto Analytics outfits, to aid them in their endeavors.


Melinda Martin